The artful dodger

by Christos Polydorou

What will it be
today? A

piss-up, a fuck,
a bar fight? What will

it take
to help you

sleep? deeply

What will appease you,
you wild man

your biceps stretching
your sleeves? Your voice

is so guttural you make
me feel less of a man.

What is a man? a pantomime?
In Greek they call it

Pantomima, panto meaning
everything and mima imitating.

Is what we see before us
even true? Designed according

to peer pressure, designed according
to your father, your dad, your daddy,

your papa? Ever since I left him
sitting in the garden with his shotgun

for birds I am becoming better,
less self-destructive, it is only in

moments of exhaustion
that I loathe myself

like he used to, but not
so much

I’ve become aware…

What will it be,
you artful dodger? A walk in the park?

Cat whispering to a black cat in a cemetary?
A photograph of a purple flower?

Let it be peace.
Let it be my arms,

if they were long enough
to embrace you.

Let it be