The figures are evenly spaced like a police line-up,
unaware they will indeed be on trial
as they trudge towards a brighter tomorrow.
The first figure is hunched over,
fierce and afraid,
carrying a spear or a crucifix.
The final figure has
perfect posture and body weight,
He is carrying an umbrella
or a Wall Street Journal,
and has a modeling contract with Speedo.
“Neanderthal” is used as an epithet sometimes.
But it can be comforting
to remain hunched over,
to avert one’s eyes from the light,
to block out the cold indifferences
to glide through days in a medieval fog
and devolve backwards
tumbling down the stairs
to let oneself believe
that a white candy heaven awaits,
that all questions have simple answers,
that the heart is the guide
and it can never be wrong.