the city of silent men

wandering through the streets of the city,
i pass boisterous people, blissful couples,
and whole families laden with daily errands
and emphatic periods. and unless i get in
their way, they ignore me, which is fine.

and then i see a face with that familiar look,
a thin, stooped shadow in the crowd, staring
at the pavement to avoid the eyes of others,
a vivid reflection of my own hollow face
that i have been avoiding for a while now.

we pass each other, brothers in solitude,
without a sign of recognition, with the timid
silence of witnesses to the passage of time,
mismatched like unpaired socks at the bottom
of a drawer, nothing in common but that.

and there are many of us, some seeking help
in brotherhood, for better or for worse,
some falling into the trap, but all struggling
on their own, because at the end of the day,
there is only grammar of the four blank walls.

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