Wednesday, March 02, 2005

In Limine

There he is –
The man who cleans the threshold,
Working the brass footplate.
I should cry, but I cannot.
He is a brown, broad-faced
Mustachioed man,
Wearing a light blue shirt
(His name—Salvador—sewn on)
On his knees this morning,
His rough hands polishing.

He wraps a soft cloth
Around a thin trowel
To reach the inverted edge
Of the tarnished tread.
He is an obstacle to entrants,
An oddity to those outside.
I should cry, but—
There he is, again, at lunch —
His shoes off, arms outstretched;
His wife brushing morsels
From his mouth;
Her hair pulled back, her feet
Swinging from the high bench;
His little boy laughing,
Hanging from a low branch.

Here I was, out for some air,
Watching the man at rest;
Then, back to the top floor,
Squinting through the gray blinds,
Drawn against some foreign,
Malevolent eye.
And he, back at the threshold,
Polishing the bright brass.
I should cry.


Blogger Ned said...

The evolution of "I should cry, but I cannot" to the final line takes our perspective and turns it around until we face ourselves. Well done.

I once had a job that was 12 hours a day of physical labor. My body belonged to the company but my mind, that was all mine. I often miss that job.

3/03/2005 06:20:00 AM  
Blogger Gone Away said...

The observer watches. And watches. Life is to be experienced, after all...

3/03/2005 09:05:00 PM  

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