Us by James K. Baxter

When you catch my eye through the clouded air
Of the coffee house, patting your hair
As if you were made only for men to look on,
I remember another body also human,
That leper wound in filthy bandages
Dying beside a fruit stall in Calcutta
With a few coins in a metal dish,
His lion's face of black mahogany
Turned upwards to the sky:
He, you, I.

So I love, but not as you would wish.

                                          Hocken MS704/22, 1962

From New Selected Poems James K Baxter (page 201) edited by Paul Millar
Published by Oxford University Press
Used with the permission of Oxford University Press