I SHALL cry God to give me a broken foot.
I shall ask for a scar and a slashed nose.
I shall take the last and the worst.
I shall be eaten by gray creepers in a bunkhouse where no runners of the sun come and no dogs live.
And yet—of all “and yets” this is the bronze strongest—
I shall keep one thing better than all else; there is the blue steel of a great star of early evening in it; it lives longer than a broken foot or any scar.
The broken foot goes to a hole dug with a shovel or the bone of a nose may whiten on a hilltop—and yet—“and yet”—
There is one crimson pinch of ashes left after all; and none of the shifting winds that whip the grass and none of the pounding rains that beat the dust, know how to touch or find the flash of this crimson.
I cry God to give me a broken foot, a scar, or a lousy death.
I who have seen the flash of this crimson, I ask God for the last and worst.
I first read this as a sophomore in high school. No one else in class understood it. I don’t even think the teacher understood it. I’ve never met anyone else who understood it. I believe you either get it or you don’t, and I would love to enter into a discussion with someone else who “gets it.” Sorry there’s no long critique full of symbolism and deep explanation here. It’s in me, don’t worry. Email me and we’ll talk about it.