The Seventh

The Seventh came
all tattered and lame,
the sludge of earth between his toes,
the grist of greed inside his nails,
loose-limbs shaking, palate quaking,
body heaving with twisted entrails.

No pity here, the woman said
You cannot stay, I have no bread.
You crave and croon and call for a wing;
No nest with me, no song to sing.

His heart bereft,
the Seventh left,
a cross upon his slate.
The woman sighed for a man denied
and lay in wait
for number eight.

- David Erskine