Sunday, November 5, 2006

Jake (p. 12)

Vincent Saint-Simon

When St. Louis was
young and her
belly got
big; when her
eyes would squint
shut with pain,
when the columns
of vomit she
would deposit into
the toilet had developed
into a hated ritual,
the water rose
to the bridge-marked
and broke.

The doctors decked
in masks and sterile eyes,
adjusting their glasses
like monkeys
over a rotting boy,
ripped off her skirt
and pulled down her
stockings so the
stench of shit
stood almost as exposed
as her labial lips
opened wide to his
crowning head.

I doubt that she, self-absorbed lady,
was ever aware the fortune she bore.
That now in these, the fields
of blood, her child stands
stripped of human rights
against the backdrop of a country that acts
the way that toe-jam tastes.

But if I could tell her
of the son she fed
on her poorly-paved
nipples that secrete only ash,
I would tell her of the Jake I saw
on a thunder-filled night when he
climbed to the top of the lightning tree--
that when God and radio evangelicals
trained arrows on us both,
it was I who tearfully ran to her
and he who had the courage
to laugh.

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