Adam’s cock

after Jacob Epstein

Not the strain of the crooked boast:
a parted raincoat; an anonymous doorway.
But a shimmy of gallery girls are bent double,
wheezing apart their drainpipe seams.

All eyes fix on the bull-swayed sack,
the curve like a branch to the sun.
The sudden twist of loosened skin
flung full into the following and falling.

He has stepped up to the plate.  Stood up
to be counted.  Stands up for himself.
Stand up.  Come to the edge, says the snake,
and throw your skinny body down, son.

Out of the shadow, into the lure of life,
out of the stone to the rebel’s pain,
the glare of knowing, the wince of truth.
He is not there yet, not quite.

Not yet, but swelled like a colossus
between action and inaction: yet to catch
himself up, catch himself as he falls.  A piece
of him stares back, an anchor to the night.

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