By Jeannine M. Pitas - Buffalo, New York, USA - 21 November 2014



you're a vagabond
you're old
you skulk
you hover
in the gaps where the known
meets the unknown
in the logs of the forest they're knocking down
in the holes of the fortress they're building
you're an error, they say
a mistake we made ten thousand years ago
and they're right


you were born
in the dirt
of an animal's stable
you were born
to the sinner
the outcast
the poor


so why should we speak of you
why should we speak to you
if there's any doubt, they say
any chance you might be nothing more
than a drunk beggar looking for food
I shouldn't let you in, they say
but I do


as you stagger
and you snivel
and your coat smells
of everything we thought
we'd gotten rid of
all the tiny rooms with spiders
all the chains of nameless streets


and the hair that once cloaked us
is matted
and the hands that once made us
and the eyes that first looked upon us
are bloodshot
and the mouth that named us
is covered with foam


and you stand before us
for someone
to touch your coat
to take your arm
to sit you down, offer you
a cup of tea


to look you in the eye
and call you good