Acetylene dawn. Coalbutton eyes
blink, first time. Tongue cool, heart charred
in its nest, the moon sinks. Canvasmouth
shifts in gumboots on a broomstick spine. Back!
scream crows. He hears breath
in his tweed vest. A plane birrs over a cow
two pastures down. He shakes
from the pole into a heap, gathers
hunting shirt & mangled jeans, hands shaking.
Nervous system. New flesh dress.
Lightning in the nails. He looks down
at the torment. Skin’s a loose fit. And this loneliness.
Am I old? He steps calm as a dream
toward the road, head high, past
the awful birds that pecked his straw
every day since he was made.
From John Wall Barger’s Pain-proof Men
Palimpsest Press 2009