So I think I'll stop, so tired of mumbling and walking, slow collisions of dust and lung and those other things arriving out of air like a sneeze, how everyone needs help now and then. But not now. Downtown, in the easy mingle of trash cans and the insane, there's a fear of angels that pack the missions, that hover in the sleepy corners of an eye. And whoever lives in a paper tent folds with it and falls, a mean vision of comfort in the sway of city traffic. I think to ignore myself long enough is to remove every bandage. And like Claude Rains I have a list of bruises and of kisses, a favorite table away from the noise. But when I sit with coffee and retrieve daylight from some other hour I'm like everyone else bearing the weight of a fragrant length of sky. And were it easy to rise and touch the window I'd count cars nudging home, the remarkable faces waiting for soup.
From "Modern Ocean" (Carnegie Mellon University Press: $7.95; 77 pp.). James Harms was born in 1960 in Pasadena, California. He has taught at the University of Redlands and Denison University, and has received fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, Yaddo, and the MacDowell Colony. 1992 by James Harms. Reprinted by permission of the author.