by Hattie Wilcox

His neighbors sometimes weld
late into the evening
a bevy of Harleys
gather ’round the torch
silent, waiting to be jumped
to come back alive, loud
the rumbling seat of power
for those who sleep where they work
scream and fight into the night
disturbances mostly muffled
by square footage for rent
large enough to house
a fleet of trucks

In a warehouse he lives alone
behind metal walls without windows
content to paint in artificial light
images of happiness and connection
children busy at the beach
holding their mothers’ hands
dreaming and building with wet sand
endless sunshine and shadow
rippling in an oily mirage
of the safety of no expectations

He reads the Tao, the now
floats in the cool stream of words
living in the books of Tolle, Dyer, Chopra
drinking daily from the overflowing cup
that is the club of the pimps of peace
who hawk the warm and sterile
tightly-wrapped bandage of
brainwashing away all extremes
to purge pain from its strongholds
in hunger, hope, desire and betrayal

He speaks the language of stillness
carries himself like a priest
many mornings mired
deep in the heat of chaos
that is the survival of his past
a childhood of years of beatings
difficult to reconcile while
he maintains an exterior calm
having passed with flying colors
the drinking, brawling
ball-of-confusion years
he long ago put behind him
in the closed closet with
the rest of the wreck of it

I wish him the kind of peace
that lives in your bones
enough books and enough words
to keep his guarded heart open
his fragile soul at rest
enough words to keep hope
from burning down
so that he may trust the touch
of a hand on his skin
close his eyes to sleep undisturbed
claim each day’s new perspective
light sufficient from his own
taped-up, broken window

First published by Camroc Press Review