Clothing the Naked

Allan Barker

It was just a little bit nicer
around the lake; broader parks
more space to expand fingertips
one brief taste was all I took
then put it back on the shelf:
a summer day, a new friend
a football and a slanting afternoon
his father actually playing with us.
What relation has strength with goodness?
a precipitous and tenuous hold
hairline cracks of expectation and anger
attempted perfections thrown daily
to the bottom of the gully--
fritos bags, silt, dead leaves, stones
we still huddle our human form
in this third world from the sun
in this third world of mortality
no differently than any slum child
treasure seeking into a garbage heap.

This child teaches better than the wise
She holds to herself what another threw away
a dressless doll, a tiny human form,
that she wishes she could clothe.

Copyright 1995 Kaleidoscope. Write Place. Volume 6.
Contributors retain all rights to their work.