Return Address

homeless at Biscayne Bay


One by one they appear, punctual 

as any junior executive—less coffee,

alternatives, the instincts of a postman.

They gather by the bay to stare out

the day before, unsigned self portraits,

each one so brushed over by a blank, 

bloodshot narrative they can’t keep it

to themselves, the surface of each eye 

empty except for the sun’s fixed memos—


revise and revise. What kind of signature

signs them in each day—first name, last? 

Only death knows our last and our first 

will lead us there in a blur of duplicates 

so compromised by what we’re not, one 

by one we’ll open as the homeless have 

appeared—nothing our last hope, pushing

what’s always been empty, that image

of ourselves still pulling things one way.


George Bishop’s work has appeared in Carolina Quarterly and New Plains Review. Toadlilly Press will include his latest chapbook, Short Lives & Solitudes in November 2014. Bishop won the 2013 Peter Meinke Prize at YellowJacket Press for his sixth chapbook Following Myself Home. He attended Rutgers University and lives and writes in Saint Cloud, Florida.