don't look at me

as if you have a complaint,

some sad story about lost youth

when you were a scale on a dragon,

chasing prisms through the sea.


you're just a hard, blind eye

fallen from a metallic prophet.

you can't feel the warmth of my

palm; but you have your

sorcerous stare with its lying runes,

its bloodless head,

its calamitous raptor.


it's not important that you

see us, but essential that we

see you—


that was the bargain you made,

immortality if you became the

messenger of violent kings.


because of you,

everything wears a collar of

numbers. abacuses are always

clicking away like beetle throats.


that is why Jesus gave you to Caesar.

That is why the hungry weep--

because they are the prisoners

of a weep1ess thing.


Chris Crittenden