No one’s certain where they go;
that much, at least, is sure;
exactly what they can’t endure
detectives rarely get to know.
Their photos overflow our files,
which hardly matters—these are faces
citizens can always place,
but haven’t seen in quite awhile.
They go for cigarettes, a drink,
or just to walk, have a think,
a quick breath of evening air,
then no one sees them anywhere.
Small wonder. They’re anyone,
nothing much to catch the eye
but portable oblivion
no witness can identify.
Small potatoes. Millions sit.
Legions disappear in place;
they never leave, simply quit,
staring into middle space
while newly solitary kin
attend to folds of empty skin.
We need a Bureau of the Blank,
a Mostly Missing Persons tank,
where armies of psychologists
can puzzle out the mental twists
of those who leave, but fail to go,
familiar faces no one knows.
Here’s to those who hide and hare,
who pack their kit and catch a train,
spare their families the pain
they cause by simply being there.