Across the street, an old man walks
Carrying a brown paper sack
As if it were his wage
And he’s walking to the bank

On his face a grim apprehensiveness
A set of the jaw as if he’s to meet
A particularly disagreeable teller
Who might dicker there on the spot
To set an arbitrary interest rate

In his sack, the currency so to speak
A strange, flavorless food of a sort
But neither he nor the teller
Would make a meal of it anytime soon

A dog barks in a yard nearby
Half-heartedly, barking only at the sack
It holds a wage for sin the dog can sense
But sin so common as to be no threat

The old man walking with his wage
Is something I see sidelong and quick
And I only know the sin and its wage
Having borne that bark myself
When I was the one that walked

It fades as quickly, paid and cashed
Remarkable only for a moment and only
To a fundamentalist flea
That bit the dog for barking so

An insect, I breathe
like Dylan Thomas


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