The Slow Wave
They say he helped take the guns at Carentan;
Was offered cold steel upon the breast
And within the thigh for his time and trouble.
They say his fortune was found in the ash of war,
In sepia stone and a deluge of pale white cheques,
Long squandered with Kings beneath burning neon.
His flesh lies upon a wounding bed,
Unmoving and voiceless with emptied eyes;
A corpse but for the callous tone declaring
The heart still ticks, void of all but blood.
They say he was known to wander
In the cool clutches of twilight,
Unseeing yet guided by arrows of ether,
Almost more wraith than man.
They say he came and went countless times,
Unimpeded and unhurt by the strange
Wonders of the unwaking world,
Returning each night to covers grown cold.
They say the last time he lingered too long,
Until the sun half-awoke, carrying the world with it.
The early dozing few littered the roads,
Still clinging to the sleep of the dying night.
I wonder if he felt the force upon his bones,
Heard the rubber vainly grasp the tarmac,
Tasted the blood, rust-red in the warming sun,
Rising to trap him forever between worlds.
Did he set off into the gaping dark,
To the sable serenade of whippoorwills
And the calm of the deadened streets,
Knowing he would never again awake?
They say the life support is to be cut;
That it is better for him to be lost –
For these rinds of a man to masquerade no more –
Than to linger on as blood and clockwork.
I wonder if he walks the shadows still,
In the darkest beams of moonlight,
His heart and mind there with him,
Awaiting the leaden click of a single switch.