I saw them clearly. Dragging, floating, wandering over the cement. They passed through each other. Stares and phrases. Where nothing could last. And they couldn’t stop moving. Back and forth, tethered to bed and food and drink, to minute and expectation. I saw them every day. All day. And night.
But I couldn’t really see them. Incomplete shadow of a man, or a little girl. Shaded into the atmosphere, scents of forgotten. Measured and numbered, Penguin Classic pages. They were there. So I believed. But maybe I was wrong.
They lived in cardboard boxes. Stacked up to the rainclouds. Climbing up the paper. They held on way too tightly with their invisible fingernails. Clutching heels and hair to get a little higher. Closer to the sunshine. Eclipsed by their enlightenment.
But an admirable quest. They moved with a purpose the gods should admire. Hungry for a truth. Drooling to ascend. Up and down, but more revealing. Marco Polo churn the masses. All the time they built, they dwelt, they spoke. Indigestion ate away, the substance that was left. The substance that was barely there.
And was it real? The hungry ghosts who create a nation. Spirits playing a game called truth, but they do not comprehend from what they are conjured. Were they real? Tooth or flesh or lung. Dancing like the stories sang, but breathing only ash. Sockets fixed on empty bellies, curved inwards in their honor.
Yet I would watch them. Hunt and gather. Starve and gobble. The real that they couldn’t taste. Sliding down transparent throats. Fight, love, build, die. The meaning that should make them whole. The kingdom that should fill them up. And it just fell out. Rotten on the floor.
So they just passed on. Hungry.