by Louise Erdrich
I'm much the worse for wear, it's double true.
Too many incidents
a man might misconstrue--
my conduct, for a lack of innocence.
I seem to get them crazed or lacking sense
in the first place.
Ancient, solid gents
I sit by on the bus because they're safe,
get me going, coming, with their canes,
or what is worse
the spreading stains
across the seat. I recognize at once
just what they're up to, rustling in their coats.
There was a priest,
the calmer sort,
his cassock flowing down from neck to feet.
We got to talking and I brushed his knee
he took my hand and put it back
not quite where it belonged; his judgement
was not that exact.
a kind of odd conversion from his act.
They do call minds like mine one-track.
One track is all you need
their loneliness, then bite the hand that feeds
upon you, in a terrible blind grief.