It's no curse
dragging my belly across
the steaming sand all day.
I'm as thick as a callus
that has shorn off its leg.
If you find me I can explain
the trail made by a single limb.
I am not a ghost.
Do not be afraid.
Though there are ghosts here—
they strip down to wind
or slump against rock to evaporate.
Sometimes I crawl beneath the shedding,
backing up into the flesh pit for shade.
Praise the final moisture of the mouth, its crown
of teeth that sparkles with silver or gold.
I make a throne of the body
until it begins to decay.
And then I'll toss the frock—
death by hunger, death by heat—
off the pimples of my skin.
Don't you dare come into my kingdom,
peasant, without paying respect on your knees!
What generous act did I commit
in my previous life, that I should be
rewarded with this paradise:
a garden in which every tree that takes root here
drops its fruit eye-level to me.
from "A Brief History of Fathers Searching for Their Sons" [5. Portrait of a Father After His Son’s Memorial Service]
There’s a man who sits on a bench
waiting for a train, though the trains
arrive and depart and the man remains
seated, the heaviness of resignation on
his face. As evening falls the light flickers
awake in the waiting room and a moth
begins to flutter in and out of sight
until it rests finally on the white bulb
above his head. All things come to calm
this way—even the trains. The cycles
of grinding metal stretch out into yawns—
each iron wheel a flower folding its petals in.
Night concludes its hymn. The man rises but
hesitates to leave this station of his cross.