Who Cares

1. The Reading
I see you everywhere, that bald crown bent forward almost against your
puffy waist-length winter jacket;
shoulders hunched, head down between your sheltering hands against the
blowing wind, the lit match touching your cigarette,
standing there in front of a string of stores at dawn, as I pass by in the
rumbling bus, now that you’re gone.
Two years and I see you everywhere as I travel to my tedious, irritating,
terrifying job.
I look out and for an instant you are still here, standing on a street corner,
or walking hunch-shouldered along.
You rode the bus to tedium over half your life, as I do now these
only last few years.
I’m sorry!

2. The Critique
“What does ‘I’m sorry’ mean?” All fired up the Professor asks, and they strain
to analyze, those darling college children.
“And what do you think?” the Professor asks, looking to me, while
for one instant I think I’ll answer:
I’d like to write a poem called WHO CARES, about a young (I admit sullen)
student who is just questioned about the meaning
of some obscure phrase in some enigmatic poem, written by a nobody,
and I’m forced by the pure integrity of my mind
to think WHO CARES; let them say what they mean outright! But instead,
I mumble; “I think she was married to him
and he died, and only now she realizes all that he did, and that through
all his years
he suffered.”

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

Death-row inmate Ledell Lee. A ruling from the state Supreme Court allowing officials to use a lethal injection drug that a supplier says was misleadingly obtained cleared the way for Arkansas to execute Ledell Lee on Thursday, April 20, 2017, although he still had pending requests for reprieve. (Arkansas Department of Correction via AP)
To take Holy Communion in the face of death is to say that it is fellowship, and not food, that matters most.
Terrance KleinApril 26, 2017
A man rides a bicycle past a billboard with an image of Pope Francis April 26 ahead of the pontiff's April 28-29 visit to Cairo. (CNS photo/Amr Abdallah Dalsh, Reuters)
“Peace be with you” was the message of the Risen Jesus to his disciples on the first Easter, and it is the message Francis will bring to the Muslim and Christian communities in this land.
Gerard O'ConnellApril 26, 2017
Pope Francis is presented with a football helmet by Michigan football team coach Jim Harbaugh during the weekly general audience at the Vatican, Wednesday, April 26, 2017. (L'Osservatore Romano/Pool Photo via AP)
Coach Jim Harbaugh presented a custom Wolverines helmet and a pair of Nike Air Jordan sneakers to Pope Francis.
Michael J. O'LoughlinApril 26, 2017
The 'Hamlet'-inspired play made the playwright Tom Stoppard an overnight sensation.
David StewartApril 26, 2017