Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander

Apropos of absolutely nothing, here are the lyrics to an Over the Rhine song that’s been in my head lately:

you are a gardener
you cultivate my soul
you water thirsty vines
that snake along my spine
in case I forget to shiver
you are a carpenter
you build the scaffolding
replace the windowpane
I see the sky again
as if I’ve been delivered

you are a fisherman
my weather lets you know
when and when not to wait
your hook’s inside the bait
I’m wary but I swallow
you are a messenger
you bring me all the news
the kind that never lies
it’s written in my eyes
you beckon and it follows

I get to be guilty

you are a singer too
carry me like a tune
I’m like a newborn child
I’m wrapped up for a while
you’re swaying like a hobo
you are a circus clown
I’ve never laughed before
beneath your canopy
oh say a prayer for me
I want this in a photo

so be a photographer
I’m dancing naked now
across the maple floor
above the lion’s roar
your pictures will protect me
you must be a scientist by now
with rumpled midnight hair
you’ve studied every pore
and every follicle
of my bewildered body

I get to be guilty

yours is a different light
I like my face that way
the canvas of my skin
serene and strange but true

Over the Rhine, “Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander”

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