Have you nothing to say? I don’t believe
the dangling cigarette interferes with thought
or speech. For the last two hours you’ve
looked at every item in the tool department
of Lowe’s, and I have followed behind you
waiting for a word scrap, gesture, look.
For want of something to do, I study you
from steps away. The cigarette now behind
your ear gives you the look of a Southend thug.
Crow’s feet, shadows under the eyes, lines
around your mouth leave no doubt about
the effects of heroin, a thief that has begun
to steal your youthful look. You’re compelled
to pull your pants up now and then on
emaciated hips. Once a dancer, your body
retains its lithe flexibility as you squat to
examine a tool set. I want to keep my eye
on you. There’s something I want to know
that I feel I’ll learn from staring. Maybe
I’m waiting to hear you say that you want
to fit into the world of normal people, or
maybe I’m waiting to hear you say why
I am so often invisible to you. You amble
to another isle, pick up a hand drill and test
its bit in a block of wood. For the fifth time
the clerk asks if he can help. He’s bored
but suspicious of the time we’ve spent
browsing. Nothing purchased, we head
toward the exit, cigarette already sticking
from your lips like a New Year’s Eve party
horn. You light up, and I walk away toward
the car, distance myself from your refusal
to take notice.