went for a walk
the streets were alive with
shady strangers
and cockroaches on the sidewalks;
and the dark was darker
for the streetlights’ glare
and the sounds of
filled the atmosphere.

And I said to myself,
“This city, surely, is as base
as any city can be said to be;
or is it something in the shadows
that unveils our souls’ grotesquery?”

I thought then, as I circled back
that to some other man, perhaps—
across the street, say, or watching from his yard
my shuffling person also might evoke unease.
And knowing as I know myself, what lurks inside
could I fault him for an unjust thought?