if there is paint, it smears and leaves a stain.
The alley is a way out of the rain,
or a short cut to home. Sweat on your palms
should warn you, but it doesn't, then your foot
hits vacancy, and so you pull it back.
Where walls were closing in, there is a lack
rather than space. There is a smell of soot
where something burns beneath you, miles below
the ledge where you are standing. You don't fall
but hear seductive voices somehow call
close in your ear. You shiver there and know
you've found the edge, the end, and all that seemed
safe and mundane is comfort that you dreamed.