Portrait of a Poet by Michael G. Springer

for the poet of Santo Tomas
we saw him first in prison
where he came to visit a man
whose desert had dwindled down
to one moderate house enclosed
by a mortarless stone wall
he continually rebuilds his
wife sings opera, sings arpeggios
each morning he tells us
there are no answers to questions
only words and the placement
of words and time passes
from Saturday to Saturday
from night to morning
and his wife sings
to the rising of stones
he rises each day
worn by the bed covers
and sheets worn by the breeze
he creates as he walks down the hall
to the shower worn by the water
by the questions without answers
and by the words he drinks
Scotch whiskey like Laudanum
watches his wall slowly crumble
and replaces each stone
as if it were a lost word
a tiny grain of eroding truth
and as he passes his aging friends
on his own road toward dust
he smiles says “howdy”
and tips his hat with a forefinger
and thumb just enough
to let us know we’re still alive
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