I no longer dare to see who I’ve become

I no longer dare to see who I’ve become
the word ragamuffin sounds right
clothes coming off my body
with still a pleasing plumpness
ready to defraud the governor for half a crown
I’m light
though nearly down

the way the meadow cuts its way back up into the mountain
refusing to acknowledge anyone but itself
the way the sky
undulating sheets
blackens the mind
the way the eye clicks out
merry in his humiliation
watching the tyrant turn

they caught me in the day
dust gentleman
in 1720 I could take my cutlass and flintlock on highways
where what is delivered is your soul
fire exacting light

I used to make demands for information
but now I have enough
I guess it says:
Now I know you
and even if you aren’t gone soon
I will be
long past the day
where you could hold me back

1720 was a good year
54 years since 1666
not yet locked down
but coming

the highwayman knew what was coming
the way Welsh light can know
what tree stands out of sight
five thousand miles down
in exact alignment
the fate of his great great grandchildren’s estate

they say we should dig up King John’s heart
buried like a witch
we still have his foot
the imperial system measured not in inches
but in sound

bent out
like a cancellation field
five stories up
the radio signal bouncing back up into canada
never coming south

I said I was your prisoner
or maybe I wanted you to be mine
like lovers fighting over not being in love

I’ll grow even
pine needle round
I’ll make out the growl of the rout
his mane
of lightning
froth round my neck torc

Robin Wyatt Dunn was born in Wyoming in 1979. You can read more of his work at www.robindunn.com. Read other articles by Robin.