My neighbor walks his dog,
a decrepit Scottish terrier,
in the alley,
like he’s pushing a wheelchair.
Only in his middle years,
the man has enough dreary vitality only
He loves only the dog.
All else is lethargy.
Behind our apartment building the dumpsters
are always overfilled with discarded furniture:
A moldy couch stinks
like a huge kitchen sponge;
particleboard bookshelves and cheap armoires
lean on each other
like slum shanties collapsing in the rain.
A television set,
gone dark forever,
is placed with reverence on the pavement.
To move out of this building is to abandon
your whole world
and all your worldly goods
and go to the next stage
naked and new
or, of course, dead —
many days later decomposing on the couch,
curled on the cushions
in deep, sorrowful,