the tower (the beggar)

The void became the beggar’s bowl 
I’m holding for a body left bloody 
on the parapet while I’m left howling: 

“Fool!”

For who’s the fool but I left ascribing 
blame on behalf of those and God 
became as absent as the salve I have 
to soothe my aching heart; when 

loneliness proclaims the evitable 
demand of having bet a losing hand 
against the house that always wins. 

“I forget you are a mother,” he says 
under guise of light come in through 
the window; his ribs cracked from the

sound he made hitting the ground 
the night you walked him through 
a door over the ice when he’d just said

“I’m going to fuck your mother,” 
to an eight year old boy I tucked
away like an impolite remark in order 
to depart again in a waiting cab.

While you, I fold like a sheet into a 
pile small enough to carry in the night 
and  reassure against half-hearted 
protest it costs me nothing here to 

underwrite the pounding pavement, 
when what lures you forth is worth 
less than nothing even to yourself; 

the constant inconsistency with
which pursued, desire languishes in the 
space you leave between your empty eye 
and an absent heart; you sit raging in the
 
silence shaking torment from the windows
as from rugs you’ve beat so thin you’ve 
spoilt with attention what might otherwise 
consume the footfall of a tired fight. 

And who is more tired, he–or I? the one 
who seeks a dove to burst out from out 
my ready palm which cannot do without a 
bird in hand yet claims to love to fly. 

I make so many mistakes here, positioning 
the splint that I might as well have broken 
bones myself in this attempt to heal them; 

apologize to emptied rooms with words you
will not deign to listen to when broken glass 
lends nothing to your certainty of what 

intention was but that the edge we hemmed 
out from your coat was just as well the way 
not me, your mother made it.

The fact that you alone seem to be alive 
makes it quiet in the tower on the days
the traveller’s gone.

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