Hank is dead now as found his place
Daily on the low step there
A block below the liquor store,
Cardboard cushioning his bony arse
Against time and cold and the slow
Tide of malnutrition that crept
High enough to leave traces in
Foam at the corners of his mouth
Under the mustache sharing
The same droop and tobacco stains
As the brim of the white straw hat
Sagging towards his forehead.
It was the epilepsy got him.
Had a seizure outside his place—
That red one down there on Bayfield?—
Fell down and didn’t get up.
The young fella with him—they’d just
Got a bottle from the liquor store—
Told me he had to get help to
Lift him inside and Hank lay down
In the hall and opened his eyes
For a second, just a second,
When the paramedics started.
Just for a second, he said.
Hank is dead and the landlord said
He’d pay me some to clean the place.
I’m outta smokes. Fuck. Harold’s dead.
And the landlord wants me to start.