When you are done with your killing
and curing- when all the arms are set-
ligaments re-knitted, shins straight,
hip-joints freely hinged to rotate
why- when the last face is powdered,
last curler set into heat
and last corpse gone home
will you have lived? You put off the master
-when death comes, will they come to your bed
to put him off? And lined, shuffling to transfer
their lives like grains of white sugar
will one good cup of black coffee
strong as the mixture in our veins be sweetened?
Will one soul helped
name you as you face your own reward
or will you look out at the roses
bloomed from the grass
in amongst all the blue tombstones-
will you have a life
when all those you have saved have passed?
And the breadcrumbs. The wet in your mouth
the last soft clothes you put away
will they call to you from the hamper
and say, “we’d have let you win hands
but you never played”?
And my stories- carved on the ice-cubes
that float to the outmost river weir
they are no sop to disaster
but they’ll stand a wall round my bed
when my soul’s thief desires to leave.