The Essex

Patrick Carrington

The sour air tastes like diseased wine,
a rusty blade. It has teeth.

On the sidewalk whores in hell’s heels
fondle boys through car windows,
purr and promise to age them
in dog years.

Businessmen stop for twenty minutes.
They peel Franklins,
mount stairs and sluts.
Leave armed with lies.

The shabby rooms are booked.

Everyone has an angle.
Everyone sweats.

The morning extra will be thick.

Overhead, above the dangerous
words and smells and motion,
a knife-shaped cloud hangs still
like an idea.

Even the sky is up to no good.