at the Art Museum
you stand so long before a painting
of four tipsy monks on a bridge in a gorge
this homeless fellow comes close
to hit you up for some change you whisper
"How much?" "What?" "How much do you want?"
him. He tilts his head like a bird...
you're either nuts or a pervert...he starts
to slide away. Then stops. Whispers:
much you got?" -- and you want to give him
everything: your three credit cards,
impeccable credit rating, job,
gift of gab.
In shame you slip him a dollar. He nods.
Outside the kids are climbing the statues;
happening: play of the fountain:
wind snapping ten-foot banners: birds
cheeping in trees like cascading pennies.
2River View, 1_1 (Fall 1996)