Summer/Fall 1997 • Vol. XIX No. 3/4 Poetry |

Drams and Scruples

A lunatic murmurs in the street like traffic and sleeps The night for warmth curled in an ash pile By the glass factory. When he wakes In the morning, he has clipped a tendon through. A sprightly freshet of blood rills over his fingers. He wanders doorway to doorway in a fugue Of action through the street, peering for bread. Afterward his handclasp will remain impaired … I want to help but there's nothing I can do. Spent lemon quarters, coffee grounds, and eggshells-twists Of orange peel curl like springs in the gutter Beside the last bus terminus Before cornfields. The city is its own wilderness. By the frame houses with their graying, unpainted eyebrows, Lots are overgrown with flesh-seeking thorn bushes And with milkweed seedpods spewing Airy strands, feathery as threads of mineral asbestos. Weeping into a frequency beyond human hearing, Tremulous as a soprano, my friend P.J. Sits in my room for hours, facing the windows; Because he is young, his grief is

Already have an account? Login

Join KR for even more to read.

Register for a free account to read five free pieces a month from our current issue and digital archive.
Register for Free and Read This Piece

Or become a subscriber today and get complete, immediate access to our digital archives at every subscription level.

Read More


Your free registration with Kenyon review incudes access to exclusive content, early access to program registration, and more.


With your support, we’ll continue 
to cultivate talent and publish extraordinary literature from diverse voices around the world.