wet bulb depression
heated by the mid-Summer sun,
your van’s panels can scald bare skin,
where withering air,
hangs among tools and spare parts,
and won’t cool for months.
once this job’s done,
you’ll get back to the baseball scores
and that growler of beer,
then another to let you sleep
through the punishing heat.
white noise whirs from a swamp cooler.
you know this hallway all too well.
its reek of booze and smoke and grease.
the pungent tang of unwashed bodies.
the bangers are new.
the same but new.
the peep hole viewer’s painted over, again,
the door jamb’s cracked where the deadbolt goes,
but the welcome mat’s still here,
and that fried chicken smell.
she’s the one who answers.
she always is.
a gash slants across her forehead.
her left cheek looks punctured.
you hear that choking sleep apnea snore
and take off your shoes.
she whispers how a bus rattled by
last night, and broke the window.
you notice her turtle neck,
then take out your tape measure,
and say nothing,
about the glass shards outside,
or the head-sized hole.