The man never notices anything because that’s his business — not
noticing. He gave me the key like a bribe. The yellow bulb was gone out
at the door that was my ration. I held a lighter up to the knob and
there were ten thousand stab wounds all around the lock. Thirty years and more of lemme in lemme
in lemme in. You could almost feel the heavy paper sack in all their other hands.
The clock is banging on the seconds like a railroad spike. I begin to wonder if a man doesn’t really die, just dissolves slowly in the rain. You try alcohol but it’s not a preservative.
There isn’t a floor crooked enough in the wide world to make that chair sit flat. You lean at the jalousies and watch the nobodies go nowhere, and smoke. A jalousie apparently only has two sides: dusty and dirty.
There’s people next door going at each other like strangers. They’ll wish they were strangers again soon enough. The other side is teevee teevee teevee.
The neon across the street flashes out of time with the clock and you’d like to meet that man, that neon man. You’d like to meet him like a train meets a cow out on the prairie.
There’s an odd number of pulls on the dresser. There’s an even number of tiles on the ceiling. There’s a smell like the laundry in a funeral home in the bedspread. You know why people smoke now. There’s nothing and nobody in this world but the faint orange spark at the end of your nose.