Rent Party

a peak in the desert

inspired by and including a line from Gwendolyn Brooks

Moses came down from the mountain,
plenty tired and more than a little singed
from the nearness of the flame and, let’s face it,
wandering through the desert is no picnic,
despite the occasional, and incidental, shrubbery.
The hungry folks who’d dragged their feet till now,
kvetchy, out-of-sorts, weary of promises–
no milk and honey far as they could see–
and when he arrived, he expected a welcome?
Man, what’d you expect while you were gone so long?
Who wouldn’t have worshipped the golden onion,
or at least danced around its root if only for dreams
of some yet-to-be fried potatoes?
He was finally spotted out the corner of one reveler’s eye,
but no one, shouted from joy, Hey, Moses is back!
He muttered to himself something like: We are things of dry hours
and the involuntary plan–and knew this
was not gonna be an easy sell, especially for a guy slow of speech
who dropped into this rent party– while not totally uninvited–
really with not much of a plan–
everybody knowing of his checkered past,
and, let’s face it, no track record for bringing home the bacon.
And what was this he was carrying in his arms?
More unpaid labor nobody was exactly praying for.
(originally appeared in In the Muddle of the Night by Alan Walowitz and Betsy Mars (Arroyo Seco Press)
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