Sunday, May 27, 2007
The Wrong Man
Clearly, he was the wrong man,
not that it mattered: he fit the sketch,
and, more importantly, the plan.
An innocent, a snap to catch,
he even looked the part: the clothes
they dressed him in, the sleepless stare,
you saw him, thought, “One of those.”
But it wasn’t him. They didn’t care.
The bruises didn’t help at all,
nor did equivocal reports
from school; those who did recall
him said he was obsessed with sports,
and of course they couldn’t find a priest
who knew him from Job. His former wife
implied he was a perfect beast,
the lone stain on a faultless life,
but couldn’t bring herself to say
exactly why. The neighbors allowed,
in their particular neighborly way,
that he seemed to live under a cloud,
although he’d always been at pains
to keep to himself and had never made
unfortunate scenes in the public lanes,
he did march in his own parade.
Still, something like this
was unexpected, until you thought,
then you wondered how you missed
the signs. It’s lucky he was caught.
Of course, he was the wrong man,
had always been. He was one
who never fit, whose life began
at odds with time and place and spun
on from there without a plan;
he walked the dog and belled the cat.
But clearly, he was the wrong man,
and you do have to pay for that.