Tony the Trader


Tony goes inside not to hide
but to misbehave.
No danger there to squirrels
and kites--
outdoor probabilities
and the like.

He settles in, shoeless and sure,
empties his pockets and takes a bow
but before latching the window
he reaches out and pulls in a cloud
the size of a cup,
tips it back
and drinks a yard beyond his mother's wishes.

He swishes, spins, stops, sits down
cross-legged on a carpet, 4 by 6
and signed in the weave;
he stacks his goods with soft precision,
fooling himself with false division
for practice, he practices
a cloud break in a thunderclap
shakes him to the derelict day; erect,
he jots a note and a name
a column of names.

The cloud passes and a shadow appears
beneath his scribbling hand.

Dark and
blessed with a memory
blistered and febrile,
he releases himself to the street
to trade jade for knuckles--
he swaps jade beads for pigs knuckles
till the morning light cancels the night.