For years I’ve tried to bury
the child in me: that last proud
barber pole I stood in front of
as a boy, the new housing project,
chain-lined walks, blacktop sweat,
poverty just a spelling word.
To rate responsibility, I’ve tried
to rid myself of selfish
evasion. It’s just as well
that I move to Nepal!
Someone believes, someone bleeds.
A girl bolts screaming from bed,
her hands pathetic wild birds,
a wooden man plods from
the house of his single mind.
At such times, when the cover
is torn off catalog comforts
and nothing grown seems full,
the child sliding head-first
into home, center of a good idea,
dustily rises, clear on the score,
and the words that passed for life
go in one ear and out the other,
a naughty habit never broken.