When springtime winds and lilacs are entangled in their throes,
and while summer elms and lindens stretch out their limbs with groans,
you’ll see a man whose mother, back when he was green and slim,
fastened the ropes of her desire to root and branch of him.
His eyes are hungry sparrows flickering indecision
as he sits on corner benches glancing up at women
in silence (his tongue is tied down tight with memory—
the old cords constrain his jaws, keep his larynx empty).
He wipes his lips three times a minute, turns his face and spits
beside his feet; but there’s a taste never leaves his mouth, sits
just above his tonsils and leaks up into his nose,
keeps him doggedly bending his head to sniff at his clothes.
The city takes his benches in when fall winds begin to blow.
In the daily winter of his head grey-green lichen grows.
*Previous version here.