Poetry: The Slow Crawl of Night

The Slow Crawl of Night

In darkness the scent of french fries

Follows me along the frontage road.

Plastic bags cling to a cyclone fence.

Cars speed by, drivers indifferent

To my hunched over figure.

I enter the cheap cologne mist

Outside a 24 Hour Fitness

Where people watch themselves

In large glass windows

Lit by overhanging pale vapor lights.

I pass unnoticed, reaching

An alleyway behind the bus station

With the fallen ashes from men

Lining the brick wall.

I shall not want

Yells some unseen

Part of the building.

At the corner I curse a digital bank clock,

Four hours until daylight.

No place to sleep.

I need a three-hour coffee.

I place 76 cents on a sticky table before

The waitress with blackened eyes

Pours muddy liquid

Into a cup with a chipped rim.

 She looks fuzzy to me and

Her hate pushes my head down.

Later, someone grabs my arm

And says I have to leave

The empty cup.

I strain to raise my head,

Unable to speak,

A child again waiting

To be lifted up.

Outside amid the smell of urine,

I stumble forward, scraping my shoulder against

A rough surface.

A door opens.

The dull light inside fades slowly,

Leaving only the smell of bleach.

The moment its takes

For the door to close

And the fumes to burn my nostrils

Is the spare change

Of my despair

In the slow crawl

Of night.


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