The eye of the radio was red, and its round mouth was talking—

about the shadow people,
                                             who live among us,

who through the grassy guts
of the country are building a highway —

                                                                 a thing to carry
the strange and the sorry, the muscled and the unwilling,
the rabid, the lonely, the old —

                                                       those with rags for clothes,
those with less than rags, with cardboard, with horse hair,
hot tar, river water,

                                             acres of dung, acres of dust —
God yes they are the ones who from rusted cans eat with bent spoons,
who let the sun speak to them in the lost tongue of the first lovers,
who grow wings and walk still —

                                                       God yes they are the ones
who from our kitchens steal the toaster, the sugar drawer, the idea
of the sugar drawer, from our lungs steal song —

                                                                 God yes they are the ones —
who with their animal eyes and teeth like sorry stars carry faces God yes
be careful like ours —

Joe Wilkins is the author of two forthcoming books, The Mountain, the Fathers, a memoir, and Killing the Murnion Dogs, a poetry collection. He lives in Iowa, where he teaches writing at Waldorf College.