Sinister Company

Charles Simic

Just the other day
On the busy street
You stopped to search your pockets
For some change
When you noticed them following you:

Blind, deaf, mad, homeless,
Out of respect keeping their distance.
You are our king! they shouted
Royal dog keeper!
Chief executioner!

As for your pockets,
There was a hole in each one—
At which they draw close,
Touching you everywhere,
Raising a paper crown to your head.

Charles Simic was a Serbian-American poet and essayist. Born in Belgrade, he and his family immigrated to America when he was in high school. He won numerous prizes for his poetry, including the 1990 Pulitzer Prize, and served as the United States Poet Laureate.
Originally published:
July 1, 1993


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