Cinq Cinquains

The Path, 1

Grey shells
on walk, fresh spread
for summer’s tourist surge,
await, as for a million years,
my tread.

Mall Contents

They shriek
and grab and push
always for new. Plump trash-
family children in last year’s
bright colours.

Career Move

Jobs came
first in our plans;
we moved from place to place
to end atop the pyramid.
Jobs went.

Like Popcorn

Cinquains
pop hot and fresh:
full tubs of froth and salt
in splendid form, tasty and warm
then flat.

The Path, 2

What have
you seen the cat
consume or ferret take?
What slaking gifts hung by the shrike,
o path?

Street Bones in Spanish Hill Town

I swing
the olive doors’
square shutters — solid wood —
and winter sun runs in and squints
my eyes.

The men
who live up here
have driven off in cars
with rusting doors, to look for work.
I stay.

As stay
the old, the poor;
the gypsy woman who
has fourteen sons, makes baskets, and
who drinks.

Her black
crocheted crepe wool
old wrap protects the sun,
and children running down to school,
from her.

We use
the terrace roof
for breakfast and a lounge.
Not one of the indigenous
admits

he thinks
(she thinks, they think —
new verbs to conjugate)
that we’re less mad than rabid dogs
to sun.

I read
the news in Dutch
and practice Spanish verbs —
except on Tuesdays when I watch
TV.

I look
at CNN.
I need to when there’s war
but otherwise its tag lines make
me wince.

Down on
the dusty street
I sweep up scraps dogs strewed
outside our solid olive doors
last night.

The wind
blows every way
but not enough to shift
the salad left when night strays took
the bones.

The bag,
the plastic sack,
of roasted-chicken bones,
the scraps we hung up on the wall,
had split,

pulled down
by dogs, or cats,
who hunt the midnight streets
for food, by tearing pit-bound bags
apart.

At home
we worry that
a dog might choke on bones
from roasted chicken. Tell that here,
folks laugh.