In the alley
Behind our flat
The old man walks.
He leans heavily between two canes,
One a blue broom, one a brown mop handle.
His winter-killed eyes signal their shoe button salutations.
Aquarius is too cold to bed with;
His water freezes in his well-balanced buckets.
I keep my eye on him
From inside the window where I wait
Feeling widowed by the ice inside.
The sparrows teem around him,
Like soap bubbles blown from a pipe.
It’s Valentine’s Day
And the old man’s saliva freezes into stalactites
As piercing as thorns. ††
When winter dies I will weep for him
One blonde diamond.
I study him from the window,
Unbeknownst to me,
In training for a part of his drama,
Cast finally as the bag lady of hearts
Which will become my stock and trade.