Concrete porch slab dimly lit by moth-brown bare bulb
only two days from going out.
Dark, quiet creatures with blurred faces
crowded and slumping into those
awful plasticky green lawn chairs,
somber soot streaks on the sidewalk stone
beneath and around them.
The broken flower pot in the middle calls out to better days of
blooming life in the face of the dead, poison stalks that
now litter its sandy soil.
No one speaks, and the relative silence,
unbroken save for the subtle scuff of a shoe or a low cough,
rests on you like the ocean of soft white smoke in the air,
oppressive, under which you nearly feel like drowning.
You don’t know why you’re here.
Maybe it’s something about the way
the tiny glowing orange beacon at the end of your lips
reminds you of some other, kinder warmth.
Maybe it’s in the pale toxic infestation that
worms its way into your lungs and settles there
an unpleasant tenant you can’t bring yourself to kick out.
Maybe it’s the silent