by Philip F. Clark


He'd get up every day,
don his clothes and tend
to rote ablutions. 
He tried not to think too much.
Because he knew what that would bring --
the tethers he lost; failed causes,
the last lover, who knew some things.

Instead, he kept his eyes straight ahead,
marked time, made plans, accepted losses. 
He was, as they say, 'A catch,' but where 
was the boat and net? He was brined
and hooked; some metal still in him. 
What was that poem about the old fish? 
He ate alone, tasting nothing. 

At night he dreamed of rooms 
full of men; hands held out but 
not touching. This spurred him on to 
learn to hold. Sex was everywhere
until he awakened. And he would wait
for dark, for sleep and its cautious
parables of companionship.