The Pilgrim

The Pilgrim
by jamh

So he finally gathered his courage
which merely fit in a side pocket
and ventured south, in haze and heat.

One laden bus after another in wait,
the metal of the handlebars porous
from honest hands, or not, but too beat

to care (among all things) to be this late,
the unpredictable motion weaving
music and laughlines and faces melting

into a buzz, an uncommon smoke alarm
that hasn't woken any victim in years
by the virtue of its incessant ringing.

To the grave, to Behesht e Zahra,
less behesht and more zahra,
while extending its cubes to the horizon.

A useless parade for the useless clouds
that have yet to shed a single tear
in sympathy or even out of lust.

He should not have come. Neither did he dream
of heavy rain, dropped bucket by bucket
to pretend to wash one man's sin.

That night in his grandmother's home,
cold colors drained by warm lamps,
he almost heard her call her stray cats in.

The last one, fifty years late, yet swift
as the surprisingly strong wind
rising from the old heart of the town

to search his bone-dry cheeks
for a recognition that lingered on
from a smile to a well hidden frown.



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