It’s a long line that forms in the middle of a century,
wavering here and there. Boys with hair in their eyes, 
torn t-shirts, this one with biceps and freckles, all of them 

waiting for an interview, a job, a reason to breathe. One by 
one they are taken away. A layer of smoke muffles the air, 
but you see them exiting the building, limping, coughing, 

one with a needle in his arm, another with a white powder 
like basement mold on his lips. These are the ones fated 
early. Others, still inside, are climbing stairs, carrying

manila folders, their vital statistics smudged with coffee 
stains and stapled to the photo taken just ten minutes ago.  
How their hair glistens with conditioner, their manicured 

nails never scratching the surface of anyone’s name or skin. 
Some of them try to leave through the sunny door marked 
No Entry. Some of them take the dark draughty doorway 

like the one I last saw you in, grinning and waving, 
into the howling tunnel where animals gnashed their teeth 
and leaves swirled in the redness that was your voice burning.
John Allman | Mudlark No. 37
Contents | The Sighting