Watching a water-beggar

All his bones stretch forth
like hands from a dark door
in a proffered greeting or a plea.
Prostrate there his body like the shale
on which he sags and shivers
on crippled legs and crippled ribs.
Over them his skin settles
as if day-old soup, & the daylight
from elsewhere paints him up
into some old relic on a dais
or into a rheumy shifted gelatin.
His breath like the softest breeze
on the frame of only dust
itself rolling along barely,
it too a sponge of slinking whim
where rolls another or is left alone.
A fatal creature left akimbo
in the heat alone exercising
an atrophied diaphragm on sore sinew,
his forearms and trunk but excuses
for them, nearing out of sight,
a daily tide of wax & wane,
has nude meat then has none
where he will be weeks from here.


Am thinking of adding an addendum to the piece at the end:

& not even the cruel desert will piss on his fire.

Also: replace “crippled ribs” with “concave ribs” or “ribs concave.”


~ by Jeremy on June 1, 2010.

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