A long grey cloud gathers above their gloomy line of thinness
as above islands.
Slack-jawed proprietors grab smokes at the various doorways up and down
the scattershot collection of stores
with their ill-advised names.
I Heart Clocks. Wok This Way.
Names that almost guarantee failure.
The 24-hour laundromat does a brisk business, the ongoing star of the show.
A pawn shop sits somewhere in the mix
where the lights are never on yet
the neon sign blinks Open Always,
missing the letter L.
Patrons shuffle back and forth across the pock-marked parking lot,
hopelessness on parade,
resignation their calling card,
and the long grey cloud above,