Charles Demuth’s The Figure Five in Gold
For Patrick, Happy Birthday
Will you pay a penny if I consent to baptism?
No. Why do you want to submit?
For a better life.
He was cause for consideration
lunar eyes lichen hair, it looked soft and was
strange cetacean, discomforted I kissed
his cheek of sand. Back in the rest-
urant I pondered boys, offerings cast
beneath belief, sodden with hope.
Meanwhile, I was dating the boss, it wasn’t
equitable. I didn’t like him but we sat
together, he paid my way, I couldn’t
say which way that was
but feared its consequence.
I went back outside. I had to tell the boy
how to have a better life, and to give him
five dollars. I waited a long time thinking
of the inadequacy of words
air disappearing in altitude
life doesn’t pander, goodness
is someone’s ill, broken golden
boys coins sopping rapture
alleluia useless ransoms
without end amen. The five dollars?
I don’t know, I like five.
Finally, he came with his father
the same mix of colors, paying for
sins not his. I wondered was he
sanctified. They were organizing
a garage sale. The boy saw me
running with a box, he giddied
Do you want to buy a rector set?
Yes (teeth bared) but don’t you need it?”
No, it’s all played out.
How much? cash sweating in hand.
Five bucks, chimed he. The bill
its fist longing toward him.
Our smiles interlocked.
I dwelt on the box and its contents
joists, underpinnings, nascent tinder
what he would look like wet
his teeth flashed; illegible cenotaphs.
Can anything be shored?
The compulsion of surrender breaks
the surface, change spins
above deceptive shoals
nadirs unforeseen, choices
cast in the face of fate.
* I like five.
Rector Set is the final installment in my poetry series based on dreams, hope you enjoyed them, paz Abby
Dream series #1 Babe the Blue Ox
Dream Series #2 My Hardest Life
Dream Series # 3 Ireland
© 2013 Abby Smith, Writer