Thursday Poem

Achilles in Jasper, Texas

I know this: a man walked home drunk
along the corduroy of pines
in east Texas, the bronze duff and

the dust and the late light that fell
on him.  Three men gave him a lift

that afternoon and raised him
with their fists and lowered
him with their nigger this and

nigger that and after a while,
when all the fun they could have

with him leaked out into
the ruts of a logging cut,
they tied him to the boat

hitch of their truck and pulled
away.  I know he kept his head up

awhile because his elbows were
ground to the bone; I know enough
was finally enough, and his head

left his body behind,
but I don’t know what to do

with this, America, this rage
like Achilles twitching
Hector behind his chariot

for 12 days until even
the gods were ashamed.

by Jeffrey Thomson
from: Split This Rock 2008