Mucky Pieta

No flawless marble sculpture this: when I first saw him
from the safety of my car, full foetus-like he was, curled up
in sleep amid the chaos of the reeking weeds. Yet was there
also something child-like in his frailty. And faintly comical

Too, I thought – uncomfortably indeed – for the emptied
vodka flask that lay beside his fallen cap seemed to have
another kind of tale to tell. Beneath his slobbering mouth
a mound of vomit steamed… Then from out behind me

Falling curtain of the twilit rain an unkempt woman stepped –
whether daughter, wife or lover – or maybe just a friend –
but kneeling down in mud she drew a tissue from her bag,
and having wiped his lips she stooped and gently kissed

His balding brow. With difficulty then she hoisted up his head
upon her ample thighs and held him thus. And all unconsciously
she built a shrine that housed a holy tableau carved from flesh.
It’s really quite embarrassing to see Pieta in the street.

Brian Monaghan

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