When Hobos Were Numerous, Hawks Were Rare
none of them went by their last names
so you had to really pay attention to distinguish, say,
Hook-nosed Pete from Gold-toothed Pete
or Whiffler Will from Lusher Louis,
when one of them brought you a peach
in exchange for your place in line
– the even
you could hear
them call or
was it the train
thought to ask
whose wind is
the arc of
to the pot of
of the corner
of both eyes –
the worst thing
was, it wasn’t
then there was the guy at the corner bar who said he knew where the money was.
we all leaned in and one of us refilled his glass, because, of course,
a bar is exactly the kind of place you’d go to find out
the stuff you need to make your fortune.
he said you know how on a ruler there’s that thin metal strip along the edge
so when you try and draw a line
it’s always farther out than you meant. Everything in between
is up for sale. You just have to know who to call.
Susan Charkes lives in southeastern PA. Her poetry has been published in a variety of literary journals. She is also the author of three nonfiction books about the outdoors.