The number on the bank’s sign
remains stuck on -6℉, but everyone knows
that was hours ago,
at least ten degrees lower ago,
when there was still a glow
over the buildings to the west.
Now the light comes from the
starkly shadowing street lamps,
beer signs in the empty gin mills and
the Christmas tree red, green and amber
of the traffic signals with their cameras
sneaky peeking to pinch illegal runners
on four wheels.
He’s a runner on two and
the cops are searching for him —
well, him and anyone like him —
to drive to Sally’s, the homeless shelter.
No, he’ll move from doorway
to basement doorway, wrapped
in a blanket someone threw away
last winter, the last time the cops
rolled him up and shuffled him in
with the rest of the kings and queens
who had to listen to the joker
with the collar pray for him before
he could get to sleep.
That’s when the wolves with their knives
creep from cot to cot,
not door to door,
and steal your kit,
if not your life, like they did
to that guy just last year.
At least that’s what he remembers
Isaiah tell him. Or was it The Bard?
When you live out here, dodging the living
so you won’t end up dead, makes more sense
then bleeding out on the cold floor
where the coffee will still be hot