Thieves, Arabs of the Tall Grass
        for Herb Fredericks

The winds smell of thieves’ markets, of sweetbreads,
of rinds candied with thick syrups of the sun, of trees
glistening like dark men rubbed with oil.

In the dusk after school we are no one’s sons, arabs of tall grass
Caravans of trees cross our trails,
yellows, scarlets flapping like sleeves of many great robes.

Even the winds do not suspect the shadows we cast
in the back alleys of woods
where we murder each other effortlessly.

We lead small children into the dark
and leave them crying. The dark can be merciless,
we learn to be as unkind.