Issue 18, Spring 1958
You were always a stray and grating
Stiff-necked lot, I am sure of it; graceless,
And nothing loose about your hands.
Great ones at vanishing, some all the time,
Bearing little but grudges; though some
Relieved by violence; each one lost in the end
Without maps, in the niggard unlovely
Waste he had found for himself, sick of it,
Wondering where else there was to go.
The promising one that just up and left,
Whom they located years later, the Old Man by then
Of a far mountain, still giving no reasons.
Jake, who told little, and was murdered one night
Fetching home some coffee in a pillowcase,
And no one could say why the man hated him.
Scary John D., the clean drunk river-man
With delicate fingers, who had nine lives elsewhere,
And the scheming drone he bred to abhor him,
You were unrewarding always, deaf and restless,
And I resisted but tumbled early
To the old testament of your blood.
Elijah did not need the ventriloquy
Of dry bones, to come, in his cave, simply
To this; I am no better than my fathers.
But I can understand why, for Isaiah,
There had to be the posts of the door moving
And the house filled with smoke, before he could see
That more than desperation called him, and could cry
To the ungracious ears of their crusty
Iniquity that it would be comforted.