Tag Archives: inequality

What Surprised Me Most

What Surprised Me Most

beneath surgery-bright restaurant lights

was the unspoken collusion of employees and patrons

to ignore the bone-defined man as he tapped thin-paned glass to beg for food.

He shoved skeletal hands toward his gaping mouth as if to fill the gnawing

we could not imagine while digesting pasta and merlot rather than

our muscles to survive as this man’s body had, his hollowed face

pleading as he mimed across the chasm of language, culture, class.

After the waiter returned our leftovers, snug in styrofoam,

I took them across the restaurant, my legs heavy beneath reproach’s

hypnotic weight from those unwilling to squander rules of etiquette

that weave the fabric that insures our warmth as others freeze.

Once outside I saw him, through my breath, accept a dollar from

two spike-heeled women as they scuttled from a restaurant across the street,

yet money’s a tool for future trade, no immediate relief for the churning gut.

Drunk with hunger, he wavered in the crosswalk till a horn startled him

back to the curb. Waving, I caught his eye, offered the bright box. Our eyes

locked yet he wouldn’t move, suspended in a code more compelling than

hunger’s desperation, a code older than the south and dangerous as asphyxiation.

Cloaked in privilege, I left our paltry leftovers on the metal bus stop bench

and returned to the restaurant’s glare, each of us visible through glass walls.

He sprinted across the street, gulped what would have been tomorrow’s lunch,

threw away the box, and returned to the window beside us.

He smiled, waved, tried to thank me, but I saw him only peripherally,

embarrassed to accept gratitude for so little before he walked away.

Thank you to the editors of decomP magazinE who first published this poem.

decomP

Dark in Light

Dk in Lt

Dark in Light

Wanted to show you the moon
but cruised off the wrong ramp
and wound up in a war zone
where there is no curfew:
men standing solo in the middle of the street
or huddled, talking beneath burned-out lamps;

wanted to show you the soccer moon
but drove down darkened roads with bars
enclosing windows and doors,
barbed wire spiraling a hardware
store and nursery—planks and daisies
out of reach;

wanted you to count the seas
across that haloed orb
but drove alone
through neighborhoods as treeless
as that dog-song moon;
beat-up cars driven
beyond unmarked borders
pulled over by uniforms
with clubs and guns,
jagged tension cutting concrete air;

I want to know who
declared this war of Americans
against Americans:
children peer from sheeted windows,
women hide behind hollow doors,
a man looks up from an empty street,
each of us equal
distance from the sun’s reflective sphere.

Thank you to the editors of Something Like Homesickness and Literary Well/Pozo Literario for, respectively, printing and then reprinting this poem.

http://lit.carayanpress.com/eweaver.html