THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAN

There was me,

the Vietnamese

and the rat.

 

The Vietnamese laughed

at the way I shaved,

at how I pulled my mouth

sideways and upwards

to tighten the skin.

 

He hung a single strand

14 inches long

from a mole on his check

that he stroked and admired

and held up to the lamp

so I could whistle at it.

 

But the warlord

of garbage and greed

mocked us both –

I shook when I saw him:

two feet high on hind legs,

strutting the spotlight

by the latrine.

He bullied the night

through a stiff moustache

and a braggart’s lip,

and a shriek that sobered me

where I stood.

 
 
 
 
 

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