I Prefer Thaddeus
“I prefer Thaddeus” he said.
A poor fit as a name
for a man of bone and rags
fallen on hard slabs
of urban paving.
A hat, some coins and
a strangely-well written placard
stopped me short in the rain,
with a present in my pocket
and fuel-perfumed flowers in hand.
I doubled the sum in his cap,
it would not have bought a loaf.
I asked his name. He laughed,
“Name something and fear it less.”
His smile held me in place.
The wind blew rain on my glasses,
the neon made him shimmer,
“Some call me Jude, others Judas,”
He opened his coat and showed me
rows of watches,chains and rings...
I drew back in horror,
stepped in standing water,
splashed ooze upon his blanket.
He shook his head, “Look!
Look closer, these are lost things”.
And every piece, gew-gaw to Rolex
had a tag upon it,
ink unsullied by the rain,
each inscribed in copperplate
with someone, somewhere’s name.
He held the coat open wider
pointed at a locket,
the name was one I knew,
one written on my pocket gift
of nothing bought in love.
My wallet was empty,
my pockets bare of even copper.
He smiled, “I prefer Thaddeus”.
I offered my box of gimcrack
and brought your locket home.