He pulls his
wooden cart through the alleys of a city.
He is old and gray, and yet his arms are long and limber,
rotating like bicycle pedals as he gleans treasure
from lives cast off helter-skelter on backwater stone:
a pair of shoes, a crooked table, pulleys
a self-portrait by an artist who had little self-esteem.
There is no such thing as junk to this connoisseur of nuts and bolts,
of chicken wire or wooden spindles that clattered in looms
and machines that hummed and turned into
bric-a-brac becoming threads that weave the tapestry of a king
on a castle wall or a hovel where the embroidered feathers
of a peacock may spread wide in diversity and sing.
The man brings the day’s bounty to a
barn at the edge of town.
Come sundown, the people of the city will, like mice
running in the dark, pick clean this multiplicative museum
in order to add to their own collections of the world reborn:
a toy, a milking stool, or a tattered virgin’s
Such are the acts of God as he collects chapter and verse
when piecing together star stuff into nickel-iron orbs,
when every now and then he tidies up, or invents, a universe.
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