Ode to a Bailiff


While the others scowled, flared and puffed
in practiced postures of professional despise
you, old and world weary wise, spoke true
chatter from the heart, a human reaching too.
Your limits were, like mine, of love and family
the mystery of marriage and the ache of lonely
failure at being the man of her unmaking sight.
Only your boots were polished and sturdy black
while my socked salmon sandal clotted dust
sliding along the crusted filth of our asphalt path
your cuffs clanking the metal of your burly belt
the ones that shhh-ould be clamping my wrists.

Our bridge was my crumbling past statuesque
in its esteemed alkalized marble cool pin-grey
and the advice from those harrowed halls of din.
“Be steady. She will know. I am sorry. So hard.”
While I slow-death paced back to churlish grins
we exchanged human trade in good will spirits,
you, speaking to me as if I mattered, I listening
as if I could care at that moment juggling misery
and hope and the doom of a mis-pieced puzzle
air born cluttering the fetid air with dizzying spin.

We both, in slow walks of dim bludgeoned halls,
wondered where we went wrong, a confusion’s
connection of human heart sunken inside echo
of conscience in the concrete confines’ meeting.
I loved you then like a mother’s son, my savior
only for your voice, even, pleading, wondrously
unprepossessing, acknowledging me breathing
as a fellow traveler, sharer of one crimson grief
barreled over the tide of ticks scratching at skin
burrowing inside the stream of killing us daily.

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