Even the dust he clapped
from his sandals rises, an epiphany,
in the vacant dawn. The chaff surrenders
to sunless wind, and even sinners know the nullity
of the flame’s embrace. The agony is not
in what we are but in what
we might have been.
Fishhooks glint from the red-root
wound, pulsing and snagging
at forgotten truths. Tucked
like dreaming children
under blind eyelids, they stir,
and waken, and rise. The useless legs stand
and know their meaning again.
The other cripples watch, envy black
in their mouths, and wait for the man in the alley. And claw
him to his newborn knees. And crack him open
with their crooked canes. And kill him. And
With wasted limbs they lie, breathing,
by the corpse who is one of them again.
They touch him, gently, as if to touch a dead man
will unshrivel their flesh, unruin their souls,
and their tears are chaff, and their sobs
are dust sinking in the lifeless air.
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