Hitch Hiker at a Truck Stop

The hitch hiker asks to look at
the palms of my cold hands
and thanks me for unfolding them
on the frost-edged
picnic table between us.
While I look at his downcast eyes
trying to see if he sees,
nearby truckers stare
at his narrow face,
long blond hair.
He asks me if I garden,
rips a scrap of newspaper
and folds it up
into a tiny origami
package for anise seed.
Here, he says,
seed I gathered in Oregon,
plant it in Colorado.
I always have a garden, he adds,
I plant and leave to others.
He tells me he has no sex;
when you ride in the righthand seat,
you have to nod your head
without listening.
Face pressed to the window,
he can see the lacquered edges
of the earth.
So I imagine him 
practicing calligraphy
on truck windows,
recommending honey and vinegar
in a glass of water
every morning.
Mad, mad, mad.
A yellow warbler,
the moon at the bottom of the stream.
Out on the highway
he is raising his thumb again.

From I Have Tasted the Apple (BOA Editions, Ltd., 1996) by Mary Crow. Copyright © 1996 by Mary Crow. Used with the permission of the publisher.