penultimate


by Robert L. Penick



There’s hardly anything left of them,

the tottering loners who visit

the supermarkets and public libraries,

moving cautiously, surveying the terrain

like experienced soldiers crossing

unfamiliar terrain.


They know these spaces by heart, though,

the circuit through the pharmacy,

the path to the corner table at

the coffee shop, where they can observe

the world through a dusty window.


Still, they move with care, knowing

the soil beneath their feet is shifting

a perceptible amount each day

and will continue to drift until they

catch up with those they’ve outlasted.



Robert L. Penick is not someone you'd notice on the street.


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