Phibby Venable

The man with too many women
rose at dawn and walked
the lonely hours to hear himself
breath in and out, feel his body
strengthen into the day
He drained his solitary votes
in the democracy of women
and struggled with chaos
in the office of complaints
He could not love enough
or say enough or wrap that many
wounds and rages
He suffered stress headaches
and covered his eyes with
mourning cloth but still
their faces brooded through
Listen, they shouted, and he tried
hard to hear their silence
but they would whisper too softly
or not at all
The man with too many women
hid his head in sand and cities and
kept his hands beneath the cover
he sent his legs on a long journey
and his heart in a back pack
next to his camera
he meant to snap pictures
of the river breaking up
to show the women examples
of spring and warm places
with the hush of golden sunrise
he would win back their glances
but the photos shivered
before their frozen eyes
and the film in defiance turned
its skin to the light