In the Park


I walk past men who sleep on grass and say nothing,

and I wonder how I feel nothing too,

the emptiness that must be something, wider now, a growing gnawing hole

like worms that opens up inside me.

My body is not my own, that face in the glass, softer, stranger. I hear her thoughts like static from a far-off radio,

the station turned to foreign music,

violin played by a man in the round hall of the subway

who waited for coins that did not come.

I sit now, hands too heavy for me for me to lift, and wonder at whose they could be,

they are not mine.

These fingers dull and lifeless,

that once plucked at thorns to feel the blood, the ice of quick pain and a rush within,

that once plucked a violin,

steel-string calluses blossoming deep

imprinting red ribbons across their tips.

Now I wait and watch instead,

almost reach for a horsehair bow

held tight by the man who sleeps on the lawn.

I see him cough up phlegm outside the public library, the violin in its battered case.

He lifts it to play,

a tune that winds inside my head and pulses there

till I walk away, let it grow to fuzz again, the radio to static once more.


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