I utter to myself, “Your soul is Rome but your hopes are Pompei.”

Time has done to my face what the Internet has done to human decency.

I descend the stairs noting that 100 years has made them the deepest conceivable brown.

“It smells like an old trumpet case in here.”

My reluctance has become the issue. No longer is the issue the powdered donuts I venture out to buy. Rather it is my reluctance. My reluctance to step out into the harsh, sallow light unique to this geography. Dust steeps in the humid air and the nearby highway moans like a sick pig.

What I cannot convey is how supremely baffled I am by sight.

Somehow I am walking. Walking to get some donuts. Not even good ones.

Along the way a broad alley hosts some puppies behind a chain link fence.

“I know your father,” I say. “He’s a dick.”

They bark and dance on their hind legs. Whimper and dance as I pet them as much as I can through little chain link fence holes. They are new to life. One has really light eyes. Halloween novelty store, movie monster contact lens light eyes.

“I was born here too, but you don’t see me running around naked.”