Edward Leiberman, Entrepreneur, Four 
Years After the Burnings on Okinawa

The light sifts down from the naked bulb
he’s quickened with a string. He speaks
to no one out of the well of his anger.
He says, “I hate this,” and he stops.
He means more than this one-man shop
on Grand River where he stores the drive-
shafts, bearings, and U-joints swiped
from the Rockwell Arsenal. He means
the stalled traffic outside, the semis
barking and coughing, the gray floor
inside littered with crowded pallets
so filthy they seem furred. He means
the single desk and chair, the hat rack
holding no hats, he even means the phone
he’s become so good at, for he’s learned
to give nothing away that matters and still
sound serious, to say, “No, we never
allow that much time,” and, “Pretty good,
and you?” in a voice so deep even he
doesn’t know it. Wardie, everyone’s cousin,
still in his twenties, though the blue-
black double-breasted size 46 he strains
against makes him look forty, the hard fat
of neck, upper chest, and shoulders draws
him down into the chair, and he swivels
abruptly toward those he can’t see. Go ahead,
reach out and stroke the dark stubble,
run a lone cautious finger down the channels
for the tears he spills only in sleep.
He won’t bite you. He’s Wardie, the lost
brother no one remembers, so give him
the love he can’t give himself. Feel him
shudder and draw back, not because he kept
his word and killed, not because your thought
became his act, but because it came to this.