Thursday, February 21, 2008

603. The Dead Man's Clothes - Pat Boran

The dead man's clothes
were willed to the village orphans
so that, those long summer evenings,
he was everywhere,
moving through the fields
till the sun died

The villagers loved it, calling
Gretel, Hansel, Romulus,
and watching the old man's shoulder turn
or the big baggy arse
that was his alone come
to a sudden, billowing halt.

Except his wife. Unable to decide,
whether this was flattery
or insult, she kept herself
to herself, shut up inside

while the village orphans
come home from the fields,
their hands reddened from picking berries
and trailing mothballs in the street
like puffs of light.

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