The Decadent

I am dying
but I will make it through this night
unlike the boy
who crossed the Hustlers
and left a chalk outline outside our door
so Emily insists on dragging me from my sickbed
out into a cab
and off to an SRO across town called,
if my fevered head can be believed,
The Decadent.

The cab and the overnight cost
about as much as what Emily has on hand
but she believes I am worth it
and nothing I have done yet
has convinced her otherwise.
She puts me to scratchy bed
and I soon dream of crawling things
and creatures come to punish me
while Emily meets out neighbors:
addicts and illegals all
who need a break
and are steps away
from being broken.

I feel my soul being judged here
at The Decadent
and Emily wonders
if there’s anything that can be taken from her
but these are good people
who live in desperate times,
surely, but will do nothing
to their fellow desperadoes.
We are safe here she finds
and I will make it through the night.

I don’t know
how many more are left in me, though,
and I hope Emily realizes this soon,
and finds a better place to be.

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