Outside the corporate totem,

in half buttoned shirt and crisp rolled sleeves,

he leans against a stone wall lined with flowers,

exhaling a rolled cigarette through a bearded smile.


All morning in moist dirt

he’s planted geraniums, flax, waxen shrubs,

blanched hair swinging easy

in straw tail across his back.

Tattoos on his forearm flex as he lifts to puff,

each nimbus thanking sky for this freedom

to finger earth and inhale mysteries.


He kneels again until late afternoon,

sets small firs deep into compost and manure.

At closing time the striped inhabitants

exit sound proofed modules

in shrunken suits and sour shirts,

yank open collars with angry thumbs,

swing disappointments in leather satchels

past the man in white jeans.


He sweeps last clippings into neat piles,

loads a wheelbarrow into a weathered pickup,

sneakers unmarked and knees unstained,

a competent man with dreams of things that grow.


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