"Poetry is thoughts that breathe, and words that burn." ~Thomas Gray
"Poetry unites." ~Anon
"Truth is such a rare thing, it is delightful to tell it." ~Emily Dickinson
Written by Martín Espada
He lives in Amherst, Massachusetts, USA
His website: Martin Espada
The poem was originally published, and appears in his book,
Imagine the Angels of Bread, (W.W. Norton, 1996)
JC was called the Rack
at the work farm,
aluminum milk pails
dangling from his hands.
Once a sudden fist
crushed the cartilage of nose
across his face,
but JC only grinned,
and the man with the fist
JC sings his work farm songs on the street,
swaying with black overcoat and guitar,
cigarettes cheaper than food.
But today he promises
four sandwiches, two for each of us.
The landlady, a Rumanian widow,
has nailed a death mask
over JC’s bed,
sleeping plaster face
of a drowned girl
peaceful in the dark.
As the girl contemplates water
and pigeons batter the window,
JC spreads the last deviled ham
on two slices of bread,
presses them together,
then slowly tears four pieces.
“Here,” he almost sings,
Posted with consent of the writer.
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