i walk to work in the rain. drops of water don’t take their time in distorting the lenses of my glasses so i take them off. i have no choice but to enjoy the blur. by the time i reach dufferin i am soaked to my very skin. in liberty village a construction worker smirks at me, calls out hey baby, you’re so wet. i keep walking, cup my cigarette under my palm, keep it alive. someone told me once that soldiers do this to keep enemies from discerning a target by the ember of their smokes. it’s all about survival, wherever you are, i guess.
the only time it doesn’t stink under the bridge in the summer is when it rains like this. i pass the bus shelter by the palace arms and think about stopping for a moment of respite but inside i can see an old man’s feet, yellowed and bare, gnarled with purplish toes, perched upon the footrest of his wheelchair. there is a woman with him and i imagine she is his daughter. i do not look at her, or the rest of him, because passing by them smells like a hospital, like i can smell how sick he is from a few feet away. i need no more than the sight of his feet and the scent of dying to know all i can handle.
at portland a gold pickup truck is being towed. a traffic cop is writing a ticket and i wonder if in some ways he feels impotent in his life. i think about the unpaid trespassing ticket on my coffee table. i think about the smell of rain and the bridge and sickness. i think about how the dying man’s feet could have belonged to someone already dead. i think about dying. i think, it’s a good life if you can stomach it.
when i walk into work brian is chopping parsley at the back counter. you’re all wet, he says. i say, i need to write this down.