Atlas

Atlas, whose lungs for centuries have
bent against a stone railroad of ribs
now wheezes as aerosol burns his eyes,
and pesticides burn those kidney-bean bent breathings.
Callused heels crush stars
to dust under the slipping weight
that clouds up
and clogs his nose;
a sneeze could cast hurricanes upon us,
as the balance of his hold is thrown.
His ancient tongue is dry like a salamanders tail.
When he stretches—smacks his lips and yawns,
his bulbous hands itch at his chapped chin and
his fingers ache like their grip is on scorched stone.