The Reprieve

He comes in from the rain
end of Summer night
like something who’d somehow
survived open air burial:
clothes torn, mud streaked,
long straggly hair covering
his face looking older than
the dirt he’d been lying on,
blue tainted lips cracked
and bleeding, white foam
caked at the corners, eyes
yellow hard boiled eggs
with brown rotting spots
dead center he is trying
to see through as he says,
“Is it too late for a beer?”
“It’s always too late for you.”
I reply, as the bar light dim,
as the storm intensifies,
“I’ve got money.”
“Your money’s no good here.”
“You don’t understand…”
But I do understand,
every damned thing he
might have said.

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