Karna Waiting

Karna knows       his brother’s father will come
while he worships at sunrise       to beg his armor
his father has warned him       he knows

he will choose       to be known
as generous       cutting the gold from his flesh
and handing it over       still dripping

though after this alms       after curse after curse
he will die at his brother’s hand
no strength left       the sun behind a cloud

from then on men will see themselves in Karna
and name their sons for his brother       for victory
instead of generosity and pain

meanwhile       Karna wakes at dawn
to worship       meanwhile       his father
the sun       will warm his back