I push past Indian women in saris holding their children to their breasts. The scaffolding above creates a pedestrian traffic jam; I’m rushing to escape the cold.
Four-door sedans chase out-of-towners down the street with their horns.
ahead is the pomeroy, a hotel that has been converted into an old folk’s home. My path teeters on the edge of the pavement so when they smile there’s still enough space that I’m a stranger.
The tenants are sitting on the edges of flower boxes out front, smoking unfiltered cigarettes, as if waiting for something.
The lounge in my building is a dusty room filled with sagging chairs that no one ever sits in; it’s a 1920’s parlor filled with ferns, ficus and an eerie green light.
By three PM street level is in shadow, and when I look up at the brick buildings, eighty-year old Greek faces carved into their façades, they follow me with their eyes.
I hear the church bells mark every hour, even when my windows are closed.
A saint with hands folded in prayer, whose name I don’t know, is immortalized in statue on the church’s lawn. I consider attending mass; I’m starving for faith in something.
But I don’t want to get up that early. ***
The buildings’ reflections glitter in pools left behind by the high tide.
A man who could be Bukowski if he was still alive, unshaven grey hair, the same round face and baggy sweatshirt and jeans, is chomping on the edge of a cigarette butt, waiting at the bus stop.
*** Train station smells like old piss and pigeon shit. ***
I’m walking on the pavement behind a lesbian couple, one with dreads, hand-in-hand. I’m just close enough to hear them speak their own language.
The kind that two people who know each other’s thoughts in an ephemeral glance speak.
Before going to bed, I step outside for a cigarette and sit under a street lamp not far from my building. A rabbit nibbles on grass in the adjacent lot.
I can hardly hear any of my neighbors except through the slats in the door transoms.
– Jenn Endless