Decomposing


He barely breathed out an incomprehensible ditty

in over-imbibed stupor,

feet lightly scraping along the floor,

as if his meager human form were struggling to hold onto

his eager, weightless spirit.

I breathed a silent sigh as he passed me by,

pausing almost imperceptibly

by the other diners.

I heard not any rudeness, neither from him nor from them.

Perhaps his whisper-singing voice

did not penetrate their over-stimulated eardrums.

At some point in conversation with my friend,

I notice he had turned and was headed back my way.

Oh, the face–his face–I had not seen it before!

So brown, purple-brown,

both wrinkled and smooth,

such an eerie color of brown.

His crystal-blue eyes, barely slit open,

almost escaped me.

The stench of his stupor, nearly acceptable

in this rat race of haves and have-nots,

hardly made my nostrils flinch.

He breathed to us–I think he asked

if we could spare any money.

I was both relieved and dismayed

that I had only a few pennies,

so dehydrated had my wallet been lately.

My friend’s meager generosity, already spent on me,

was the answer he needed

to cease his momentary pause.

He hesitated slightly, and looked at me intently.

The eyes did not penetrate me, no–but the skin–his skin–

so hauntingly purple-brown,

wrinkled and smooth,

like an off-color prune,

an instant snapshot pierced my vision.

He breathed to us again one final time,

the stiffness in my back increasing, my pulse racing, my mind dreading.

But no rudeness, no judgment would come.

He breathed gracious words, “Enjoy your conversation”,

and nodded barely

and began again his whisper-singing

and his feet touched along the floor

and he quiety went out the door.

                                                 -enley

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