Saturday, April 14, 2012

12 of 30 Elegy For Sam Patch

"Some things can be done as well as others". Sam Patch

The gulls cry at the base of the falls,
a ravenous and expectant mob
they are clean and white
like cotton in the mill,
the child's hand spanning it
a host of angels

You, drunk, with a trained bear,
a fox on a chain, jumping from the mill, from the masts
of moored ships, from a rickety platform
on goat island. You strike-instigator. You spectacle.
You stone against god's window. fever-tinged
How the proper ladies gathered,
the gentle folks tittilated to see you
romance your death, dance with it

How you fell, headlong the last time
they believing you were hidden in the cave
watching and laughing, finishing your bottle
the preachers railed against their sheep,
for their need for a wonder

they could not accept their own muddy hands
all those clean white gulls, their open mouthed awe
and hunger, and you, wingless, uplifted in the spray
dead beneath the ice, buried with a wooden placard

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