L, Another Day

by Yousef Hilmy

Illustration by Aiyana Jaffe

published October 9, 2015


closing in on the parking lot

outside where the form is fixed

the grass is not allowed


rackety red carts curl and slither

imbricate in scales


after the sun peters out

behind the jagged stucco


after the sprinklers

halt their hissing


after felled items

return to their place


L, the attendant, clocks out...

sick of inventories.


his walk back to his apartment

down the hill & past the bend

blurs thick with repetition,


& ambition lies mute.


the cheap beige tiles here in this bathroom

the corroding sink

coiled cadmium orange here

metallic scratches a kind of uncovering

toothpastedceramic mint green in crests.

questions mirror in half-tones

his visage a stain


these residues do not wash away;

to a chorus of leaks

coos and caws of a couple still not tired of itself

this hum of children cheered by the thought

of emptysundays & their promise of sugary cereal

mama’s kisses tender and sloppy


L is pasty and nicked not smoothed out

has an unfulfilled desire for grafts


his galley kitchen

gutted and emptied of its contents

save for three ceramic bowls

a plastic cup fluorescent blue

disposable utensils still bagged, hooded

rusted gas burners flaked with dried food

raspy cabinets with splintered wood

half glued knobs

beneath waterlogged herringbone floors

freckled with white paint not the art kind

is malady of sorts


the bedroom not much

a plopped old futon without sheeting

some used books bent out of shape

a singular candle waxclumped

college-ruled notebooks and pens

dozens of empty beer bottles and cans

mixed and matched a pair of crusty socks


L goes to bed at 11

does not quit work the next day.


Chastises the mirror at home.