Wee Hour Martyrdom
poems by Jason Tandon

for Martín Camps

Springtime, the same characters return
To the duck pond where I go jogging.
Two hooded drunks hidden in a stand of birches
Hoist brown bags and cast their lines.
A boy paraplegic with his obese nurse
Motors himself in and out of the sun.
Around I go, knees cracking, arches searing,
And each lap I am stopped on the stone bridge
By a woman with enormous calves
Who tells me, “You look like you could use this,”
A one-and-a-half by one-inch Personal Bible.
I accept, jogging in place,
Their Verses of Comfort, Assurance, Salvation
And add them to the jars in my kitchen
Where, at last count, I’ve collected
Nearly a thousand pennies.

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