Drawing by Judith WolfeRebecca Lu Kiernan
GOD OF THIEVES
He vomits again on a lime chessboard floor
Soiling his indigo hospital scrubs, aggravating
His football ruined knees, sober enough to feel
The metal pin in his arm from the accident.
One court order, one coma, one suicide attempt
His third try at getting clean. Barring religion
To whom does one pray in the darkest hour?
Sub-genius IQ, master's degree, the Greek god,
Hermes comes to mind. Hermes, the god of
Erections and thieves. He misses compulsively
Ironed crisp white shirts, onyx and diamond
Cufflinks, super bowl ring, gold monogrammed
Brandy sifters, the obedient purr of his silver
Boxter, the lullaby of a woman's somnolent
Breathing, any woman, casual relationships,
Prostitutes, strangers from bars, strangers having
The edge, the hint of mystery on the hesitant lips,
Secrets on the verge of disclosure, impenetrable
Eyes. He misses the thrill of his mother's enthusiastic
Disapproval, the family feel of happy hour at the
Local Irish pub, the bleached blonde woman from
Work with too much mascara and too little self
Esteem. He figures his odds a good fifty-fifty, the
Best so far, worries about the sober self he
Abandoned thirty-one years ago, the little things that
Were unbearable, the bump of strangers' flesh in
Crowds, the mind numbing crawl of the work bread
Hour, endless details people tell about their boring
Lives, the sound of barking dogs, the ambivalent stare
Of cats, the audacity of tiger lilies in window boxes
Dying of inattention, rotting right under one's nose,
The bubbling sound of aquariums, the icy wind
Fingering the collar of one's sweater. He dwells on his
Most recent love at first sight, a sweet thing he met on
Holiday, eternity band, mermaid cut bridal gown,
Mesmeric introduction to anal sex, all in seven days.
For her, he went briefly, tragically sober, cold turkey.
He remembers the look of loathing as he asked for the
Ring, the same look of disgust in the reflection on the
Stained glass lancet window, the frightful feel of being
Known. He never knew a woman to pack a car so fast,
Having seen more than his fair share of luggage fly.
Hysterical, she took his meat grinder and all of his navy
Socks, left her makeup and all of her shoes.
His mind still insists on using the feminine.
Memories have been stolen selectively, mercifully, the
Brazen clues so easily washed down. This is what will
Be missed, the delicious blur of things, the lifting of
One's arms to fly on the discovery that brittle rules are
Just a dream and happiness is
The stripping of clothes in a forest of razors, the emptying of
Pockets on a runaway train, the gentle company of thieves
Beneath the trap door.