i ask a homeless man for change and he says it will not come

he says show me your palms boy,
drops an empty handful of dirt
into my outstretched branches
says this was here long before us both
and will be long after,
as his roots bury themselves deeper into the sidewalk,
face contorts to find the last hopeful rays of sun
before the blue shadow of dusk descends
like an axe or shovel or heavy wail of song.

and the dirt wasn’t actually earth, i think,
but the vacuum of space it occupies,
a potted plant as surrogate for love lost, wilted
yet still expected to bear flesh;

and somewhere, Sam Cooke is still singing about a river,
a pair of anxious hands pluck a living thing from the ground
in the name of someone else, and like this
decay and rebirth and a forest of weeds speaking back to you
on some decrepit corner of night.

i say i think the sky looks quite beautiful,
this purple promise, this wishing well of light

and you say keep your coins boy,
the sky only glows because of all the smog
and tomorrow, it will still sound the same.

About the Author

Lucas Peel likes the idea of strangers, vegetables, and defacing things in the name of art. He does not like vinegar, rules, or high places, though he is willing himself to at least understand the purpose of all three. One time Neil Hilborn told him that his poems were pretty. He currently lives in Aiea, Hawaii.