Lafcadio laughed loudly
that day, lightly, lively
like a lark, joyous,
singing that day
on his way to the park,
that day ringing
brightly, loudly
as the bell
of Saint Paul’s;
enthralled was he
with his laugh,
with his music
loud and harsh as
the horns of cars.

Before work
he was happy and silent,
an empty shell
just coming alive,
but after crabbing his way
down crowded streets
in the overheated heart
of the city,
breaking through
brassy lines of traffic,
through human seas,
then for a moment free,
he stops, remembers
and becomes plain
as the nose on his face,
advancing steady and slow
as a ship on course,
never losing his way,
never forgetting his place.

Lafcadio goes on,
goes on
making his way
back and forth;
tired of old, diving for new,
he holds terrible breaths, long
and painful reminders,
braving his grief
with a patient heart,
every day
making his way,
every day
back to his street.

Lafcadio, ordinary,
comes and goes,
each day plunging, plunging,
coming up empty,
going down again;
a doomed serf
disdaining divine mercy,
a Sisyphus pushing the stone,
the stone rolling in the decline;
a Sisyphus waiting,
waiting forever
for the fatal unforeseeable
end of time.