At eighty-eight, he sits
_______on Montgomery sidewalk,
a cola sign for his easel.
He goes back to the hot dry smells of bees
_______and fattening bolls, his mother’s
tar-bottomed sack, cotton-worms
_______he pinched, the green
sapling handle of his boy-sized hoe.
He sleeps in the Ross-Clayton
_______Funeral Home. A man
pays a nickel a picture, asks
how he learned to draw.
it just comes to me.
On paper scraps and box tops,
_______he draws giant dogs,
wisdom-birds, men with canes, sea cows,
and airplanes, and amputees.
_______At eighty-two, he left the plantation,
worked in a shoe factory,
_______swept the trimmings that fell
under the tongue cutter and eyehole punch.
_______He sits on Monroe Street, ties
a turpentine string around his bad knee,
eats fruit-stand cull,
weeping peach. On shirt cardboard,
a blacksmith’s tongs, and green leopards,
and dancers circled for ring shouts, calling
as they stamp the earth.