Saturday, November 1, 2014


Hearing is accident, listening is art.

(after reading about a child falling from a fire escape)

Like hell-forked tongues and bird of paradise,
flame in the garbage a kewpie's arms and legs
for which the hand of rust-trapped toddler begs,
his body stretching from escape's last rung.

The once priceless prize of carnival days,
won when we were whirled and pitched in carnal throes
that bull's-eyed, jackpotted, guessed on the nose,
now trophies trash for a slum child's yearning.

Long after she had laughed our ways apart,
while I sported a smile and feinted the game,
this gaudy plastic doll still staked her claim
in a heart stripped, wasted, and abandoned.

Time has hurled into rubbish grief and toy.
The child reaches out for what can hurt no more.
His fingers touch what his spirit burns for.
He slips. He crashes into our past. He dies.

My battered heart was a vagrant knocking on strangers' doors, until you opened yours, and let me in, and dressed my wounds.

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