Tommy looks like a frog:
long boney legs, squat body,
no neck. If not for his cane,
gripped tightly in root-like hands,
one might expect him to leap
from one street corner to the next.
On his left arm
is a faded tattoo:
"I killed 57 gooks in Vietnam,"
he says, and tries to manage a grin.
"We don't use that word anymore,"
I tell him, but he waves me off.
"Fifty-seven kills, and look at me."
His front teeth are missing
and he spits when he talks.
He has scabs on his nose and cheeks
and is drunk, nearly to helplessness.
"We carried him here from Fishtown,"
says his friend, Dave, a bloated red-faced drunk
whose pupils look like lost swimmers.
"And we'll carry him back."
A third man, sullen and dark,
nods from the shadows.
"Yes, we carry him," he says.
I give Dave two bucks.
"Take care of him," I say.
"I can get you some oxy, cheap,"
says Dave. He wears a shirt that advertises
a bar. His lips are slack, his hair creased back
under a cap. Were he to go missing,
I wonder who would search for him.
"Just get Tommy home ok," I say.
"Fifty-seven kills!" yells Tommy
over my shoulder. And that's how
we leave it.