Service

What are you supposed to feel
when asked to preside over
a ceremony— to move

or be moved
without warning
or preparation just

after coffee and toast,
the ride on the trolley
or train, identical hands

zipping up jackets
and straightening ties,
touching a button or collar

or badge, folding a newspaper
under an arm, shielding the eyes
from the too-bright sun?

Here is the guard,
ceremonially robed in black,
bearing the silver sword

and golden mace
across the threshold
of a hall bathed just

yesterday with the blood
of assault. And the reporter
notes how the heads

of the houses of Parliament,
more accustomed to disagreement,
break ranks across the aisle

to shake hands, to touch—
circumstance urgent enough to prise
hearts from their catacombs.

 

In response to an entry from the Morning Porch.

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