The Beggar and the Senator



 

It is tolerable

that the calloused hands of the beggar

trace the fluted columns of democracy.

It is tolerable

that his muddied feet

trod the bleached and scoured corridors.

It is tolerable

that his eyes refract the echoing light,

that his ears discern the marble timbre,

that his lungs reap the perfumed air.

It is tolerable

that his soul be refined by the fluent architecture.

It is mere circumstance

that separates the beggar from the senator.

Circumstance includes, of course, the legal authority – nay, responsibility! –

to compensate oneself for the time spent deciding that one deserves

a salary increase this year.