Spring 1980 • Vol. II No. 2 Poetry |

Elegy on the Death of a Hobo

From air he caught voices for birdwhistling; he was cheerful, and boy did he sweat it on the dusty road with colorful verbs whenever the old peasant wouldn't give him a lift on his rattling cart. He asked piously, though, and winging his greasy hat he praised the fly-infested nag, Christ, and all the saints, and he was furious when the day would be over and still there'd be no girl to come between his arms. For he loved to squeeze and hug; his still thick-set body, jeweled with fighting girls' good nails, he'd lend to renewed clawing, and in his old villages, many a time the unbathed babe would choke to death between its unwed mother's brown knees, and dawn waters would carry its little body to parts far off. When I'd curse him over wine, only distant sorrow would shine greasily on his mane, and into my face he'd pipe my poems, which he liked. Two years now, he hasn't lived or whistled, he lies in earth; no clawing lover in his arms now, only dull-thudding earth cong

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