The old man sleeps on the little lawn
of the Korean Rosicrucian Church.
He positions himself like a cardboard cutout
all over Echo Park, sometimes by the curb
at Safeway, sometimes staring there
into the traffic as if it were a stream.
He always wears the same trimmed beard
and eyes like cloudy mornings.
Wherever he went in his youth
he didn't come home.
He hunkers down on his heels and sings,
brown bottle neck the instrument of his song.
He sits on the curb
and waves cover his ankles.
Even if I should catch his eye,
I couldn't find him.
I have a different island
to attend to and don't try to stop
the spinning door between the worlds.
I remember very carefully
how to come back.
by Eloise Klein Healy
from Artemis in Echo Park
Firebrand Books, 1991