Poetry

316

Bottle neck of beauty rolling up the
yellow-tiled tunnel to the express lane.

Twitchy red-bearded bum, black hoodie
dusted with fine crumbs of something not
dandruff I don’t think. A logo cross
emblazoned over hoodie’s heart says
“The Church of Steadfast Love”.

Manifold beyond reckoning are
the paths of suffering and grace.

Sharp tang of tobacco. The bum’s
settled into a glossy stare. First
two fingers rust-stained from
the dip he hooks into his lip.

Nothing is of use. Not this
pointless dilettante reportage
not my plays — nothing: everything’s
identical sit-com twin.

Bum’s got a buddy. Buddy’s
got a plan. Get off at Pioneer
Square and go to that place. “That’s
what I’m talking about.”

Buddy’s the twitchy one now, though
Bum’s fingers are fluttering again too
as the bus sits in the tunnel waiting
for the one in front to clear. Buddy
shakes his head in frustration.

“It figures.”