27 June 2010

Rag and Bone Man

she walks with the rag and
bone man, his cart rattling
down the street, wheels
uneven, shuddering, metal
upon metal and

he paws her hand in
his, deciphering the tiny scars,
white, upon otherwise
manicured mitts, the
strange text presenting itself
to an unpracticed, but
willing eye

target orange, his vest, and
him with six children, the
last a girl, their bird-
mouths always upturned,
squawking out awkward melodies
of hunger

she hungers too, no less, picking
through his findings, the
ragged ends of ragged days,
the false flourishes and
cheap ribbons thick with a
greasy dust, First Place and
Best Beloved no longer...
her dogs yelp and ache

oh, for a word or two
of truth to shock the
system, the cold clear
of rain in late August, the
sweep of the wind in
September, whipping the leaves into a crown,
the antiseptic snows of December, as good as
fertilizer for a lawn

the lineaments in and
of his face, no more
young, yet not old,
jake by her

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