13. Ashes

Another cigarette butt
flies from his fingertips,
he inhales the smoke
as if it would give him wisdom.

Standing outside, looking in,
he recites to himself:
Ashes, ashes,
everyone’s dying to meet her.

Inside, inside, he obsesses over how
he’s going to get inside, inside.
With his scrawny legs he paces
in the back, craving another cigarette.

His belly, that empty belly,
led him across borders, past mile markers
and into this small Indian town.

Of wheat and ocean,
or quill and lake,
eyes survey the same landscape.
To rape and own,
or use and return,
men find ways to fill
those aching bellies.