he gathers from each              a fear

                                                        a fruit

                                                        a plea

                                                        a potato


passed with sweaty palms to him

their eyes dare not raise above his pomegranate hem


he gathers               their cries

                                    their wood

                                    anything that might be gold


goes inside

balancing on one foot

and washing the other


                                careful with the shoulder clasps

                                layers of linen flat on his chest

                                the heavy jeweled vest

                                meld to his flesh


the basket’s burden is much more than its weight


in four layers of white

shuffling slowly Inward

a trembling ankle rope tethers him

but brings no comfort –

they cannot save him


to say the Name and live another day

is to seal the People for another year


he shuffles slowly, serving

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