In the Final Analysis

The man who hates himself
wanders on the dark hillside,
waiting for the lean blessing of moonrise.
He wonders how others feel about him,
is certain as to how he feels
about himself.

The man who hates himself
weeps in the night. He imagines
the trickles filling twisted
fissures of malformed stone
stained with oxides; palomino to blue,
canyon shadow to gold.

The man who hates himself
always thinks he should be somewhere else,
be someone kinder or more useful,
know how to carve a decoy, a mask,
how to embroider. Perhaps he could learn to
swallow swords.

The man who hates himself
reads the books of others who also
hate themselves. He wants to believe that
the next page, or the next, will tell him
why they do this, what makes them
take the blame.

The man who hates himself
leaves footprints that sprout with green
herbs as each sole lifts; coltsfoot, chamomile,
the miniature comfort of thyme. He never looks
over his shoulder, never crosses
his own past.

When the fog moves in
he can no longer tell whether
the path is ascending
or angled downward.
The moon’s gift
is silence.

©2003 F.J. Bergmann

"In the Final Analysis" appeared in Margie—The American Journal of Poetry #2

Next  Poetry  Home