The straw of boxcars

The gigantic interiors on steel wheels
move, punching out sound like
cannon shots:
quietly the grain in bribery to feed the mills;
will there be bread for the poor?
Push it through the slots of their
cardboard domiciles.

No faucet water, their arms and legs
are piled outside
washed with mud, unending cries
like an ER hospital; nurses waiting by the
train stop silos, handing out
smiles from buckets filled with straw-
the gray-faced homeless terrify them.

They stand in a column,
the wheat drudgers. For years they have
eaten dust, drank the
dew from their dangerous skin;
here is their brain machine, it works
without thinking.

They scour the ground for grain powder;
here is their slipper, here is another
as they walk the square patch
of earth for a meal:
they thought death was worth it. They
mold their lips into lies,
are they dead, or are they praying.

The sweat of their efforts tug the
world into a lie. Even the sun-clouds
cannot manage the grief.
Here they come now, the ambulance
gatherers, stacking the poor
in empty boxcars like straw dogs.

The black boot doctor has no mercy
for anyone- he is the hearse
for a dead rail; the priest throws on the
toe tags. His obscenity bulges
before him like a tired rosary. Onlookers
tremble, they clutch the good book.

A third person, it might be god, hairy
as a savior: his heart is too small
to bandage their terrible faults. He
creeps away like a weeping Mary. The
long coffin of colored pine
departs with a marvelous calm. This
is what it is to be complete. It is horrible.

The straw of boxcars