Sunday, December 03, 2006


So many homeless people in this world. Mostly we never know who they are until they're gone. But this man didn't even have a name in death. Yet he was some woman's son...


(previously published in Clark Street Review)

This morning there is just this:
a flock of purple pigeons rising
above sunlit clouds, railroad tracks, the old station,
that grove of little scrub oaks by the tracks
where a nameless man froze to death last week.
It was his home, they said, and he was last seen alive
sitting on a piece of carpet about four in the afternoon
wrapped in a thin blanket, smoking a cigarette.
I don't know how he got in this poem.
I started to write about the iridescent feathers
of birds against storm clouds and then he jumped in.
Maybe he thinks the snow coming in from the West
will erace all traces of him. Maybe he wants us to know
that his hair was red and soft to the touch
and that he liked those pigeons
and he was good at math and dancing
and cried whenever he thought of his mother,
that he once had a way with the ladies
and liked the Stones and jazz and the sound
of that whistle when he couldn't sleep
for the train shaking the ground
he lay on or was it him shivering
as the snow drifted around him...

- mimi


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