by Kevin Carey
he came with a pillow sack over his shoulder
took the triple decker loft that leaked when it rained,
talked all day about the jungle, the piles of dope,
the sins of his m-16,
talked about it when he walked the floor at three a.m.
threw open the window and yelled into the street
talked to the guys on the corner who bagged his coin
and passed him weed and beat him once good
for going on too long,
talked day after day, night after night, talked to the traffic,
the cab drivers, the police, the priests,the nuns,
talked to the guys in the steam room at the YMCA
and the kids playing basketball in the schoolyard
who called him “Jezu the cuckoo.”
Talked in the rectory the night he flipped a table
at a prayer meeting for vets
walked home with his rosary beads around his fist
shaved his head and stood in the rain
in a white satin robe he bought overseas
a few men in a circle around him watching the suffering.
Kevin Carey is an Assistant Professor in the English Department at Salem State University. He writes poetry, fiction and stage plays. His work can be found in several literary journals, The Apple Valley Review, The Literary Review, The Comstock Review, and The Paterson Literary Review.