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

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