Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Been trying to write this one for years.

Not quite there yet.


When the meds are right and his wife’s away,
he is the mayor:
debonair in his seersucker robe,
strolling in flat-tire slippers
past the laughing fallen, the stunned stoned.

He carries, inside the pack of Kools
(for which he gets lights from the ladies
behind the double glass),
the Virgin in vinyl crocodile,
half-sewed bugle beads, faint tiny photos
of some baby with a tinfoil crown.
Some Catholic thing, given to him
by that Mexican fellow in the Guard
who ran onto the marksman field.

Could be luck, he thinks, but he’s never sure:
his only sureness comes when it’s time
to go back to the tiled halls,
flirt with the nurses, throw back
the dope in paper shotglasses.
He thinks about giving it away
to that pink-haired boy
with the wrist straps, who bums
his cancer sticks and laughs sometimes.

But when he’s gone, the tiny parcel
is in my hands: his daughter, who carries
half his illness in her coils,
who wonders what god’s luck
this token brought him.

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