In the village, we survey the damage:
every cedar lockbox smashed,
every pillow coated with blood, spit, snot.
The houses have crumbled. We discover
no envoy, no manual, no code in the clouds.
Into this scene a man—old Ozymandias,
in the flesh—staggers down the street,
a rum puppet, his strings yanking him
down down down. We let him cough
his lung dust onto his gravel. We pile
the prison whips high. So much stone.
So much rawhide and, yes, so much skin.
Some pray. Some shut their red eyelids,
hope for a coda, but no. No codas today.
There are many more villages to visit, so
let’s leave these prophets to their gossip.
Maceo J. Whitaker lives in Beacon, New York. His poems appear in journals such as Beloit Poetry Journal, Boulevard, The Florida Review, Hotel Amerika, Linebreak, North American Review, and Poetry.