Ken lived across the street. Always
an Older Man, he told us he shaved twice
a day. Said he’d have a full beard Otherwise.
Although that wasn’t true. Ken was tall enough,
walked a little like those big black bears. He loped.
He chain-smoked and carried two packs of
cigarettes At All Times. One in his left hand pants pocket; another
rolled up tightly on the right arm of his white t-shirt.
Learned that trick in the U.S. Navy. Classic tattoos:
Mother and Hilda, longtime wife. Small eyes and lips
and his nose was substantial. Ken wasn’t
good looking but he wasn’t bad looking either. He
never looked different, did not have a face that
fluctuated. Voice full of cigarettes, scratchy
and low, he said What’s Doing as a way of hello.
He did not wait to hear an answer.