Lines about Him

by Stuart Dischell

He was more the friend of friends than a friend of mine
I was never sure I cared for him really

He smelled of tobacco and alcohol
His beard was crusty at its edges

His eyes had no light by midnight
Strangers feared him as they would a loose dog

I don’t know how the women in his life welcomed his touch
But they did

One night I saw him on the pavement below my apartment window
He was on his way to see our friend in the building I figured

First he took a swig from a bottle he pulled from his sport coat
Then crossed the street and peed against the dumpster behind the drugstore

Was it worse he looked like a mad man or a mad dog
The stain he left was visible the next morning

STUART DISCHELL is the author of Good Hope Road, a National Poetry Series Selection, Evenings & AvenuesDig SafeBackwards Days and Children With Enemies and the pamphlets Animate Earth and Touch Monkey and the chapbook Standing on Z. His poems have appeared in The AtlanticAgniThe New Republic, SlateKenyon ReviewPloughshares, and anthologies including Essential PoemsHammer and BlazePushcart Prize, and Garrison Keillor’s Good Poems. A recipient of awards from the NEA, the North Carolina Arts Council, and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation, he teaches in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina Greensboro.