He Who Paid for His Freedom


Aaron James

Originally published in The Evergreen Review Issue 123 in June, 2010.

     He, who flailed with wild shouting arms, rapid and desperate
to the nearest gas station in the card-stacked American town
And rejoiced at the sight of the Counter Jockey, whose smile
Beamed with gold-tipped tooth after veneer-corrected tooth.
He, who took out his trendy European Leather bill-fold and emptied
out his pockets, exchanging unscrupulous bills and loose change for cheap service

And He, who fell, knees to asphalt, with fingers clasped
Sacrificing each salami-filled leg
to the Gods of Capitalism.
Then with certain madness unhooked his dirty, crooked fingers
And hooked them around the filler handle
And in musing search of salvation rushed the gasoline from station, 
to pump, to neck, to handle, to nozzle and out, finally
to the top of his balding, pruned, sun-spotted crown

He, who struck a match.

     and flailed with wild shouting arms, rapid and desperate
And drenched and bathed and burned and repented his unworldly sins.