On The Cathedral Steps

On the cathedral steps where hot sun spikes its crown
and causes sweat like blood to stick like thorns
that point upward but do not direct, and heat to prick but does not think
to move on, I read my book while having a look at people walking by.

Faces face like many moons that walk while wishing their own separate wishes.
At churches’ foot, begging to be loved by one another, secret eyes guessing
to be someone’s lover; infinite footsteps clop clop clop and a vast mirage of voice
echoes on silvered concrete and pale cinderblocked walls, hearing only the last word
now and then.

Over the arching heavy sunlit crucifix, its shadow lurches over me, a grey shadow
pulls away –
here, the heat feels like hot breath and hot skin and hot neck,
bright white sunlight touches them.

Someone takes a photo of a girl and a boy who stand unmoving
in front of the camera to capture the day – to catch like something that could fly away,
a bird, a moth, a weeping seagull – arms hooked like tree branches,
scimitar smiles, it seems one may only take a knee to fathom the future.

Where, at the top of the steps, I sit alone it’s clear that it’s not clear
that I alone should grin, and with my mouth angled and strange,
find laughter a language which I can speak, announce alone: I’m here!

Michael Holloway