IN THE GLASS
[In memory of Joseph Merrick, the 'Elephant Man']
He's sleeping, semi-upright, but awakes
To stifled squeal and voyeuristic glance.
A hand, upon his shoulder, roughly shakes;
A voice he knows (despairs at!) hisses "dance!"
He stumbles ("Billy: give 'im this to drink!"),
Asphyxiates, collapses to his knees.
"'ere: feast on this!" A mirror (coral pink)
Is shown him, and he screams at what he sees..
The crime's forgot, a lock secures the room
* * *
Where, now, he writes, and paints, and model-makes,
And plays mein host to gentlewomen, whom
He treats to recitations, tea and cakes,
Forgetting, till there's nothing left to pass,
That frightful apparition in the glass.
THE PERFECT CHILD
A meeting was arranged, by Children's Aid,
To choose adoptive parents for Doreen,
But tidings from the doctor came between
So laden with foreboding, it was stayed.
Three couples, when they heard, "disfigured feet:
She'll likely never run, and never dance,"
Imparted their displeasure at a glance,
And engineered a provident retreat;
But one remained - a man with ragged hair
And calloused hands that never quite came clean,
A woman dressed in pink and mustard green,
Who shrugged and grinned, and said they didn't care..
In oak-floored homes, by crutch marks undefiled,
The others still await the perfect child.