Today's poem is by Paul Worley

Outside Wat Poh

they will release a bird to carry
away your sins
for fifty cents American

and as you watch it flying off
you realize it's joined the dirty cloud
hovering around the southern gate

where red and gold robed monks
throw seed on the sidewalk,
into wire cages, luring them back.

And then you recognize that,
like those birds, like anything
that's flesh and trembles in the noon sun,

we are defeated by the smaller things,
the food, the shelter, and the warmth
of someone next to us in bed,

and we will fall for them,
from the whorehouses of Plaza Garibaldi
to the penthouses of New York,

we will descend,
like those dark birds,
repeating the instinctive gestures

of animal need, our sins, revolving, lost
among millions scavenging
the pavement without release.

Copyright © 2004 Paul Worley All rights reserved
from Tar River Poetry
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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