You're here again, old friend.
You strut around like a ragtag redcoat
bellhop, glance up for a shooting star
& its woe, & wander & out the cove
you rendezvoused with Governor Phillip
after Wil-le-me-ring speared him beside a beached
whale. We've known each other for years.
You're unchanged. But me, old scapegoat,
I never knew I was so damned happy
when we first met. Each memory
returns like heartbreak's boomerang.
You didn't tell me you were a scout,
a bone painter, a spy,
someone to stand between new faces
& gods. I didn't know your other four
ceremonial names, hero in clownish clothes,
till another dead man whispered into my ear.
From "Thieves of Paradise" by Yusef Komunyakaa (Wesleyan University Press: 128 pp., $19.95)