Took far too long to know I had stopped living
and begun wearing my life instead.
Like a child who ceases growing a decade early
and the doctors with nothing they can do for him.
My life grew—broadening, lengthening
around me—while I remained unchanged,
though I have by now made a little money,
have touched the crowns of sleeping newborns.
My life gets longer as it nears the end,
gathering folds, dragging behind.
The train of my robe, inglorious as it is,
fills the length of any temple, sad little god
I am—compulsive, weary worshipper. Somehow
I know, had I been alive when Christ was a child,
I would have been among the group of men
listening to him in the temple yard,
wanting to give up my life for God, only
to return to the streets, wearing this
big coat lined with goods I cannot sell.
Cameron Alexander Lawrence is a visual artist and poet in Decatur, Georgia. His poems appear or are forthcoming in Five Points, Poetry Northwest, West Branch, and elsewhere.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.