Morgue-Work: In the New Boy’s In-Basket

Whatever he wants to touch, he may,
and whenever. The tools dictate a job
that dictates a motion. No one checking.
No one watching. His vertigo on waking.

He calls the job The Nile. He must catch
a bus for The Nile—get off on a messy street,
brave the addict soldiers who never seem cold
in the cold. He’s got unreadable lips to read.

His steps echo on the marble stairs. Down.
He parts the reeds. The Nile waits. Hanging
heavy and rank, it belches devoutly, offers
obscene asides on what bloats out and floats up.

He arrives on time to remove red underthings,
wean rigid fingers from diamond rings.