First thing he did was clap his hands
against his eyes, as if he’d gouged
them out with hairpins. Only this
was someone else’s son, and sin.
The hands appeared to blink.
He looked out through his peephole
stigmata, stereoscopic fisheyes
set in the locked door of the kingdom,
and there he saw a million strangers
in the hotel hallway waiting
to be let in. And as he studied
each face, inventing names for them,
a fire broke out on the ground floor,
or maybe it was always burning,
the whole hotel—its pool, its fire
escapes, its continental breakfast,
bread basket full of bleached white stones.
The screams, the faces warping, fists
pounding the door made both the door
and his own risen body shudder.
He staggered back from the burning mob
packed in the hall like cattle cars,
hands dropping so fast they gave
a little whistle as the air went through,
a whistle heard by none but dogs,
all the stray mutts in Jerusalem
rushing to lick his holey hands,
mad for the smell of meat on the wind.