the way of all flesh 15

          roy herndon smith

she, who always sits
straight and speaks out of a clear
vision of what's right

and labors for all
with constancy, without 
complaint, drops her head

we wait, she murmurs
“i've always been the good one” 
a friend rubs her back

we know then it is
not purpose that sustains us
her friend's hand is still

on her back, her head
falls slowly down to rest on
the table, she sleeps