But only a good one. Hammer, mine the day.
Have other poems dropped like depth charges
to break something loose, picture a tight-lipped
brigadier, reciting a roll call, “Acorn, Akhmatova,”
loaded—fired against the circle of whiteness
surrounding the city—reload—and again.
And old women, helping the effort, walk
the streets beating pans to flush out a poem,
report that an old Chinese man looked into
Wah Fook Seafood Trading and smiled, lifted
the stick of an arm and waved gently like a king.
I need something more, comes the reply, more than
police cruisers sailing the streets like sharks.
The young man on the street corner is always there,
growing the thin film of hostility on the inside
of his frame, that much extra weight in a bucket—
heart stamping each day like a blown tire,
not speaking because he knows his voice would sound
like an angry dog—his pet rats lined up on his arm
even seem frightened, as though on a sinking ship,
the sign reading, “OUT OF WORK, OUT OF HOME, PLEASE
HELP. THANK YOU.” Nobody from the passing
stream stops to think if he were God, quietly there,
even a dollar would get you into heaven.
He knows, instead, the fussing crow wing
of a broken umbrella, waving him away.