at the Y
He'd been big, one of the awesome
We were glad to see him in good health,
clear-eyed, and still with so much hair.
Nevertheless, I turned to my friend, saying
This reading could be as a death to us.
And he, agreeing, spake back: Let him not
have become a fatuous drunk.
And we were afraid.
Because we loved what we knew of God's work,
we needed at the very least to like him,
the brevity of whose name no longer struck us
as mysterious: one letter more than Ai,
one less than Cher.
He looked at us as if to memorize our eyes,
then cleared his throat, like the shattering
of a glass down the dark hall. He lifted up
a book we had not seen, and read in a voice
that seemed to smooth the corners of the room;
and the microphone, stooped with the boredom
of its century and clogged with lesser expression,
became functional once more, and radiant.
And his words were well pronounced and true.
And his words must have leaked sweetly
out of windows into the honking, failed city.
And my friend looked to me and I to him
with soothed eyes.
And when it was done, we felt meaning settle
softly on us like a mantle on the shoulders of one
who must go into the night unfed, unshod,
and find the child wandered off, and feed and clothe him.
by J. Allyn
J. Allyn Rosser Page
Wired for Books
© 1999 J. Allyn Rosser
Copyright © 1999 Ohio University