May 2008 - THE POTOMAC

Man Under the Bridge
   Michael Griffith

Odd, that the grey suit he chose
Was the color of his hair
And allowed him to be
A human match
For the pigeons.

I don’t know what had happened to his shoes
Or what he’d taken that was letting him sleep
Against the graffitied pylon,
His face as filthy as his feet,
His closed eyes, gone.

Ironically, he looked more content
Than we who were ignoring him,
Or laughing at him,
Or feeling sorry for him
And ashamed of ourselves.

But what if he was the one that was free?
What if we were living in cells
Where our sentence was a desperate need to conform,
The window, our doubts,
And our guards these often medicated, insecurities.

What if, Matrix-like, we can’t see
That this, our life,
Is a corporation controlled
By lying government run
Institutions bent on keeping our souls afraid, and blind. 

What if, as so many refugees know,
The only way to escape 
Is to betray everyone you know,
And fly into the arms of the streets
Where, because you are of no further use, the rich will finally cut you free?

For he may have had no shoes,
But despite the noise of us rushing to keep up
With whatever it was we were keeping up with that day,
He slept as a child does
When it’s loved, content and unafraid.


Enid Nankervis

In death, Enid Nankervis became a morning.
Curiously I felt her cooling cheek
As Michael removed her morphine drip,
And although we spoke above a whisper,
Her silence claimed the entire room
In death’s, gentle dawn.

An odd, crisp quiet
That stilled her shared, nursing home room
With what felt like a spirit soup,
Where neither a melodic bird disturbed her sleep
Or an insect stirring, and insane,
Broke from the glass
To where we were removing
All, and any stain of dawn.

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