TG (March 18,1963 / Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)

Transfiguration

outside the liquor store a bum
begs for loose change.
car fare, he said, but the glint in his eye
of disillusionment and fury

reveals the ruins of Nineveh:
rocks broken, residents hiding among mountains,
fire consuming pathways to the capitol. elders
inspect the locust ravaged fields

of wheat and barley. all lost. the bum
bums dimes, quarters, nickels
shifting from one foot to the other
hoping to avoid the cold concrete

beneath him that is drawing him
in to its heat: oh paradox
of transfiguration
change me from the victim

to the victor and let me hear
clapping hands rejoice
at the ruins I leave behind.
the bum reaches deep in my pocket

amid lint and grime pulling up
a few coins that cradle the sun light,
counts them out and drops them
into my outstretched palm.

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