One Petition Lofted into the Ginkos

For the train-wrecked, the puck-struck, 
   the viciously punched,
the pole-vaulter whose pole
   snapped in ascent.
      For his asphalt-face,
his capped-off scream, God bless
   his dad in the stands.
      For the living dog in the median
car-struck and shuddering
   on crumpled haunches, eyes
      large as plates, seeing nothing, but looking,
looking. For the blessed pigeon
who threw himself from the cliff
   after plucking out his feathers
      just to taste a failing death. For
the poisoned, scalded, and gassed, the bayoneted,
      the bit and blind-sided,
               asthmatic veteran
who just before his first date in years and years 
swallowed his own glass eye. For these and all 
and all the drunk,

Imagine a handful of quarters chucked up at sunset,
lofted into the ginkgos-- 
   and there, at apogee,
      while the whole ringing wad
pauses, pink-lit,
   about to seed the penny-colored earth 
      with an hour's wages-- 
As shining, ringing, brief, and cheap
   as a prayer should be-- 
Imagine it all falling

into some dark machine
   brimming with nurses,
      nutrices ex machina-- 

and they blustering out
   with juices and gauze, peaches and brushes, 
      to patch such dents and wounds.

From A Fine Excess: Contemporary Literature at Play, edited by Kristin Herbert and Kirby Gann, published by Sarabande Books. Copyright © 2001 by Gabriel Gudding. Used with permission. All rights reserved.