The old man in the cage
by Sean Lause
It is Sunday. The old man in the cage
is wheeled through town again.
His lips tremble with violations.
There must have been a time when he was young.
He signatures the wind with words
they cannot decipher. He is no one.
Though some say he knows when time will end.
His face is a map of sins and visions.
The citizens scrub their cars, their souls
as white as the illusion of innocence.
They toss him mirrors and laughter.
He shows them rage and the seat of his pants.
He is the sum of all their ages,
guilty of a crime he can’t remember.
At sunset they return him to his cave,
where he’ll remain till they need him again
to preen their jaded dream of being gods.
Sean Lause is a professor of English at Rhodes State College in Lima, Ohio. His poems have appeared in The Minnesota Review, The Alaska Quarterly, Another Chicago Magazine, The Beloit Poetry Journal and Illuminations.