Today's poem is by Nance Van Winckel

Cautionary Tale

The funny bearded goat
goes down on his knees, the in-and-out
of frail ribs in the dust.

I listen, then tell you what the bellboy
said. Since he used his hands
I use mine. Since he's crying, I am.

The hotel's tiled lobby we'd walked through
yesterday—is today's dust around a goat.
All of us had been bussed to a basement.

Overhead, a factory of gray machines
and the ping-ping as metal parts shook loose.
Everyone gnawing at their own wounds

through a night of punctured breathing,
after a week of upended destinies,
and a long month between your dream

and mine. Keeping our distance,
and then not. The nuts and bolts
falling. I touched your chest.

Those ribs beneath your dusty suit
seemed the first ribs taking in
the first breaths of the world.

Copyright © 2003 Nance Van Winckel All rights reserved
from West Branch
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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