January 16, 2010

Alan Fox

ALL SEASONS

Was it Thomas Becket?
My memory at two in the morning isn’t clear,
But whoever it was I thought him a fool
To sacrifice his life for principal.

You will die soon enough, Thomas.
Why rush the process.
You died too soon, Thomas.
You let the aggressor win.

I can only suppose you were caught
In the cloying web of your own self,
Assured, self-righteous, indignant.
I can only suppose you were caught.

And now you or my own self or both
Have caught me closing the candy jar.
I, too, choose duty over expedience,
Belief over comfort, though not as fiercely as you.

What a gift this life is.
This booby-trapped, dirty-veined gift
Which, like a gift card from some merchant
Comes with conditions

And some uncertain date of expiration.

from Rattle #31, Summer 2009