Trying to Sleep in Dying Town

Trying to Sleep in Dying Town

Do you have spare change for the death toll?
asks the man, dressed in drab, offering
a smiles of knives, making me rethink
my decision to bed down in Dying Town.

Shaking, I fumbled through my coin purse—
a rare item, passed down by my avuncular
grandfather, that lion of perdition, that boaster
of threats made good in a whip-tide of battered
promises and green sails infused with his tidal breath—

and produced some blood-tinged money,
smudged with countless fingerprints, warm
from ghost transactions and pocket love,
coming to me through a brain chain of events.

Here, I said and flipped a quarter and nickel
to the man who caught both with a wrist snap,
the air around his hands charged and smoky,
reminding us both that his time was short,
bringing to mind my own looping heartbeat.

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