Candles toppling sideways in tomato cans
Sputter and sizzle at head and foot.
The gaudy patterns of a patch-work quilt
Lie smooth and straight
Save where upswelling over a silent shape.
A man in high boots stirs something on a rusty stove
Round and round and round,
As a new cry like a bleating lamb’s
Pierces his brain.
After a time the man busies himself
With hammer and nails and rough-hewn lumber,
But fears to strike a blow.
Outside the moonlight sleeps white upon the plain
And the bark of a coyote shrills across the night.

A smell of musk
Comes to him pungently through the darkness.
On the screen
Scenes from foreign lands,
Released by the censor,
Shimmer in cool black and white
Historic information.
He shifts his seat sideways, sideways—
A seeking hand creeps to another hand,
And a leaping flame
Illuminates the historic information.

Within the room, sounds of weeping
Low and hushed:
Without, a man, beautiful with the beauty
Of young strength,
Holds pitifully to the handle of the door.
He hiccoughs and turns away,
While a hand-organ plays,
“The hours I spend with thee, dear heart.”