The mind is restless.

It never sleeps.

Thoughts skip across the surface

Like flat rocks on a lake

Sink to the bottom

Into darkness and mud.


A man traipsed the square leaning on his walker

Straw hat.  Wide brim.  Khaki pants.  Plaid shirt

Covered with

Little squares of faded black and gray.


Hair in his ears.


“Hello, do you speak English?

Where are you from?”

The man stands straight up

When he speaks.

A little smile

Reveals his yellowing teeth.


“Mendocino?  Ah, I was there in 1954.”

His eyes look away.

“Worked on a forest fire.

Fifteen men were killed.”

The air is still.

A giant laurel tree looms behind him.


“What’s that?

No, born in Illinois.

Became a missionary

In Fout Springs.

You were there?

Hardly anybody knows that place.”


“Ha!  Soaked in that

Foul-smelling sulfur-water?

Drank it too, did you?

Do you any good?”

He laughs.

“Yes, I’m still alive too.”


“So, how do you hold

Body and soul together?

Well, that’s fine.

No, I live here.

Never too hot,

Never too cold.”


His voice is kind,


He opens the walker into a seat

And sits.

“How long are you here?”

“Too bad.  Not long enough.”


His shoes

Like the rest of him

Look a bit worn.

But his eyes grow bright

When he speaks.

I’m reluctant to leave.


“Been here so long,

I can’t remember.

I guess it was

About ten years ago.

Maybe more.

This your first time?”


“So you like it then,

Do you?

You could move here,

You know.

What’s that?

I used to say the same thing.”


“No.  Never did.

You wouldn’t either.”

The wings of a thousand pigeons


When he throws some grain

Out on the ancient stones.



“Oh sure, of course.”

He stands up.

“Thanks for taking the time.”

He tips his hat and shuffles off

To the center of the square

Under blue sky to find a new victim.


Thoughts come and go like people.

Mix like the flavors

In a perfect mole

Disappear into the flow of life

Settle into an uneasy rest

Incased in the mud, lost forever.