by Michael Lee Johnson
Crippled, in Chicago,
in a dark rented room,
on a dust-filled
on a playground of sand
years ago by a handful of children
playing on monkey bars.
He hears bedlam when he buys fish at the local market
and the skeleton bones of the fish show through.
He lies on his back, riddled with pain,
pine cones fill his pillows and mattress;
praying to Jesus and rubbing his rosary beads
Charley blows tunes out his
notes float through the open window
touch the nose of summer clouds.
Charley overtakes himself with grief
and is ecstatically alone.
Charley plays a solo tune.