The sun is high and harsh, little shadow forms beneath the craning sides of slumped buildings.
We walk on.
His chest is bare, all sinew and slick and bronzed from the sun. A hoodie hangs off his shoulder, too big for his ravished frame.
There’s a kid nearby, cradling a beat up bike. He blocks half the alley and we move into single file. Are they together?
“That man’s trying to talk to you.” He points at the only other person there.
We are forced to accept his attention.
“I'm not begging or anything; I'm a travelling poet.”
“Sorry, we can’t stay.”
“Just a few lines.”
“We have to be somewhere.”
We try not to walk faster.
“Thanks for your time.” He calls out. A thin veil of malice sits in his voice.
“He’s been there for years.”