Under the Grates

by Djelloul Marbrook

When I was young I didn't have the sort of face
men of consequence cotton to,
but the desolate studied me
in subway cars. I hear their heartbeats now
under the grates. I remember their faces.
I think I have kept faith with them,
but I would be hard put to tell them how.

The professors had a great deal to say,
saying nothing the desolate said more.
My bones were their tuning fork.

Then there were the inevitables
who lost themeselves disliking me;
among them count lovers and my mother.
I think of them with a sob and permanent dismay.

From: 
Far from Algiers

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