Men Alone

You see them there almost by accident, through a window from a rolling car. They are at once recognizable as members of a tribe coming to believe in the absurdity of their bodies, drifting through rooms whose few flourishes, supplied by old girlfriends, now seem vindictive.

There’s a TV, a phone, a few chairs. They do just enough to keep the place from ants. Afternoons, taken by a brief whimsy, they dance alone. At night they reach into cupboards for hidden sweets and make lists of things to be done the following day. They read magazines on the can, renewal cards molting the carpet. Sometimes their hands come loose and fall into their laps and dream a few minutes of women they will never see in church, a last stamp of decency worn away on the sofa nearest the window where they sleep on those certain evenings, the radiant concern of news anchors a lullaby onto them in socks. You could stare into these windows for years and not see anything essential or shocking, only the last rites of men who would pay any price to be you, and have.