It was cosy in the tombs
the heathen had taken for dwellings,
and my bear was with me, button-eye
unravelled on a small dream-thread.

Waking would prove
a pandemonium.

I rustled the onion-skin
layers of King James
to find the verse by touch—
his gnashing teeth,
his cuts still fresh,
alone in the mountains
of Gadarenes.

The wild man broke chains and rocks,
like Superman, until the day
Jesus whispered to the swine,
made them squeal and run
shrieking into the sea, full of devils,
and the day my parents
took the good book
for safe-keeping.

The pastor’s face was grizzled
from flak he took on a bomber.

He suggested allegory, and that I
should read the verse about suffering
the little children, or maybe Noah.

His words drained the verse.
The spell was broken, and I was left
blinking like the wild man—no more voices,
just fishermen and homelessness
in the rain by the sea.