He sits cross-legged on the floor outside
the lantern room of the lighthouse. Sea’s roar
a mere sight from here. Rusty wings of eagles
circle the sky, much below the railings
that my fingers clutch beneath giddy gasps.
“Never mind him”, the guard assures
a flock of school kids, “He’s the harmless type.
Just climbs the stairs up here every morning
with the first tourists and leaves with the last.”
He keeps a distance from words, behaves
like an animal that doesn’t grasp
human conversation. But he turns around
and smoulders teenage indignation, as a boy
tries to poke him with his dirty shoes.
A girl, frail and meek, her fingers
nowhere near the vertigo-defying railings,
tries to press her back against the wall and
stand still, fails, and collapses onto the man’s lap.
He doesn’t move a finger while others
circle around, murmur, shout, get a bottle
of water and sprinkle it on her face.
When she wakes, he looks calmly into her
eyes that blink back at him, and gives her
the kindest smile madness can afford.