I saw him before I fell asleep, a face—
Bearded dark with flecks of copper wire, wheat floret, coconut coir—
Graced with nothing more than any other.
His eyes grazed the multitude for an empty seat, once found,
Wedged himself in a library of bodies— stuffy,
Musty, still— where creaks, cracklings, and crinkling were all that was spoken.
Morning sun gently palming its warmth around my neck, the bus’s
Arythmic galloping on a quilt of mismatched asphalts
Cocktailed into a lethal doze.
“Stop looking at me, motherfucker,” syringed consciousness into my limbs.
The dose wore off the once welcoming
Congregation, joining knees in amity,
Now gouging a moat between him and the strangled voice imploring:
“Chill! I wasn’t looking at you, man.”
His face grew white as light
With rage— flames snapping, hissing, roaring
From his eyes and mouth— pestered by the sun’s
Brush-splattered sweat beading down his rumpled brow
Like blood, suddenly aware of the cross his face had to bear, heavier yet
In the eyes of unsolicited glancers, making mote in their eyes a beam in his own,
Of something which wasn’t completely theirs,
Nor that of the man whom they rent, cast, and dressed as villain with snake eyes:
His eyes; himself.
Why can’t we look at our neighbors as ourselves?
Cast out like a demon out the bus,
Temple of the unfortunate, a sacrifice in which he was
Both victim and priest.
Shulman, Sandra. The Encyclopedia of Astrology. Picturepoint Ltd., London Title pages, 70-71.