You know how hard it is sometimes just to walk on the
        streets downtown, how everything enters you
the way the scientists describe it – photons streaming through
        bodies, caroming off the air, the impenetrable brick
of buildings an illusion – sometimes you can feel how porous
        you are, how permeable, and the man lurching in circles

on the sidewalk, cutting the space around him with a
        tin can and saying Uhh! Uhhhh! Uhh! over and over
is part of it, and the one in gold chains leaning against the glass of
        the luggage store is, and the one who steps towards you
from his doorway, meaning to ask something apparently
        simple, like What’s the time, something you know
you can no longer answer; he’s part of it, the body of the
        world which is also yours and which keeps insisting
you recognise it. And the trouble is, you do, but it’s

        happening here, among the crowds and exhaust smells,
and you taste every greasy scrap of paper, the globbed
        spit you step over, your tongue is as thick with dirt
as though you’ve fallen on your hands and knees to lick the
        oil-scummed street, as sour as if you’ve been drinking
the piss of those drunks passing their bottle in the little park with
        its cement benches and broken fountain. And it’s no better
when you descend the steps to the Metro and some girl’s
        wailing off-key about her heart – your heart –

over the awful buzzing of the strings, and you hurry through
        the turnstile, fumbling out the money that’s passed
from how many hands into yours, getting rid of all your change
        except one quarter you’re sure she sees
lying blind in your pocket as you get into a car and the
        doors seal themselves behind you. But still it isn’t over.
Because later, when you’re home, looking out your
        window at the ocean, at the calm of the horizon line,
and the apple in your hand glows in that golden light that

        happens in the afternoon, suffusing you with something
you’re sure is close to peace, you think of the boy bagging
        groceries at Safeway, of how his face was flattened
in a way that was familiar – bootheel of a botched chromosome
        – and you remember his cancelled blue eyes,
and his hands, flaking, rash-reddened, that lifted each thing
        and caressed it before placing it carefully
in your sack, and the monotonous song he muttered,
        paper or plastic, paper or plastic, his mouth slack,

a teardrop of drool at the corner; and you know he’s a part
        of it, too, raising the fruit to your lips you look out
at the immense and meaningless blue and know you’re
        inside it, you realize you’re eating him now.