after gray days

—— —nobody knows
what to do

you take pills
get the word from television
eat right food
you wander around an afternoon

when its raining
your blood wants you to whittle
but that isnít done now

then someone comes up on the porch
with his hair beading water
and rain dripping off his nose

he says that the chinese
think of america
as that far country
of a thousand flowers

you smile at him suddenly
you think if you could only
release maybe fifty million balloons
over asia saying good luck to you china
from the land of a thousand flowers
some golden years
might pour down time

you peer through store windows
watching the shoplifters
you think why are we all
thieves in our bandages

and the snakes in the rocks hissing
come crush our heads
flay us hang our long skins
on the screen doors of your houses

—From Selected Poems, 1985