The Hunger Season
poems by William Taylor Jr.

"Songs for the Lost"

Today you wake
to find your loneliness has grown teeth
and become bigger than the sky,

to find the center has gone

and all that remains
are fragments:

brittle shards
of boredom and pain.

Your fragile beauty
and sad brown eyes
are no defense

against newspaper headlines
and telephones that refuse to ring.

Hope is cast aside
like a two-dollar scratcher
that didn’t win,

like Christmas trees
on January streets

on an afternoon spent
breaking mirrors

and pouring drinks
you told yourself you wouldn’t have

and playing that record
again and again,

the one with the lonely man
who plays guitar
and sings
songs for the lost

because that’s all he knows
to do.