The Better Man

I try to picture myself as
the better man, one whose
heart never picks yesterday’s
pocket, whose eyes are clear
enough to enter a room without
looking for a back door.
As the better man, I end
my negotiations with God
over doubt and grace.
The better man reminds me
to be grateful for what
others can’t give, for stars
too deep in their own dark
to point to a familiar port.
We stare each other down
in the hallway mirror wondering
who’ll blink first, each thinking
the other is the mirage.
Hearing old desires rattle their
spoons, the better man reminds
me he doesn’t need salvation to
feed a conscience or anyone’s
applause to dance across
an empty stage.