The shelter dorm is damp with desperation crammed coughing into garbage bags. Its inmates rise and join a line weaving bleary for corn flakes.

Some sell their food vouchers for cigarettes, or chew in silence, pretending not to listen for each other’s hunger. Faces low to bowls, theirs is the furtive manner of animals unsure if next they’ll bite or be bitten. An intercom reminds them they have grudges of senseless wandering to bear, so they drag these dumb out the fireproof door.

In the autumn rain these bundles and parcels of women collect shab garments about them, and draw dirty hoods over haunted expressions. Remanded from central heating, they eject, a dim confetti of hapless misdirection.

Some shoe alleyways where doubtless dealers skulk them. Others stumble to the nearest bench, where they’re shoved off by cops onto others. They sit muttering or waiting for the freeze to saturate the core of some senseless internal refuge.