Drunk on clouds and yesterday’s rain,
his hollow eyes would hate the stars
and his hat shelter him from pain
to the whirr of distant passing cars,
but the cosmos inside his head
is only a vacuum of air:
he cannot feel my angst or dread,
though oft I think he knows despair.
Fastened to the stick of a broom,
his cramped straw feet would touch the ground
and his racked arms embrace the gloom
of anguished nights wound round and round,
but he won’t tame a feral crowd,
nor build temples of a new faith,
nor in tears cry to God out loud,
nor enter heaven like a wraith.
Underneath an unminding moon
amid corn that spreads on and on,
he never lives and dies too soon
as endlessly, I wait for dawn.
first appeared in Cedar Hill Review, 1997