The man with no name

I asked him
where he came from.
He said:

‘I come from my mother’s waters,
from my father’s well,
come grimed with brick dust,
stained by my brothers’ blood,
scorned by accountants,
washed in sweat.

Horses see the dust of my passing,
snort their impatience.
Crows watch my shadow,
are familiar,
worms sense my steps
and are expectant.

My inheritance is clay
and offal from sumptuous kitchens.
I’m a conjuror of fishes.
My nostrils know the language
of faithless streets,
effluvium of mines.
I pass from farm to forge,
from mill to ship
and each one steals
the droplets of my sweat,
my hours, my loves
and no one calls
my name.’

I asked him
where he lived,
but he was lost
in the crowd.

 

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