A dirty bowl

the dry well echoes
hollow
every sunday afternoon
with a coin secretly
palmed from the
collection plate
the tinny reverb plinked
stone-bounced
all the way down
to the dirt
in the empty bucket
inside

eyes closed
the child mutters
amid cicada shells
twice-dead and desiccated
picked from nearby trees
spiraling castanet
on the backs of
dust witches
dancing at his feet

the old man
startles him
fingering ash
from the bowl of his pipe
looking at his boots
speckled whitish-grey –

kid they all look for water
before they die
you’re just wasting
your time
and that money
wishing her back
she won’t come –
you may as well’ve been
praying for rain


From Sonofabitch Poems, R L Raymond, 2011

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