Portrait of Enya as Homeless Man Singing


Sometimes Enya needs

a break from watching over

the sad and the lonely so

she puts on an old American

flag t-shirt and smears herself

with dirt and takes to the street-

corner with nothing

but an acoustic guitar to sing

“Jolene” and “Wagon Wheel”

to strangers. She doesn’t get

much for it: a handful

of nickels, a one-dollar

bill, a condom. Lots of

dirty looks. When women

cross the street to avoid

her gaze, she is tempted to peel back

her skin, to reveal her expansive

wings, her bones of exquisite

sea-glass. She considers mangling

their downturned mouths

with her canine teeth and

her giant cat’s tongue, but instead

she checks herself, smiles, starts

a new song. Sometimes

a man will offer her a swig

of whiskey and she will gratefully

accept. She will cough and whoop

and begin a hymn of praise

and thanks. She will invoke the old stories

about love and forgiveness, about fires

and floods. She will remind the street-

people of the unreliability

of the body, of the bit

in the Bible about not knowing

the time or the hour. On some level

she’s right, you know—about

the flood and the flesh

and the end of time.

Enya always is.

Author: Patrick Kindig