In me is a little painted square
Bordered by old shops, with gaudy awnings.
And before the shops sit smoking, open-bloused old men,
Drinking sunlight.
The old men are my thoughts:
And I come to them each evening, in a creaking cart,
And quietly unload supplies.
We fill slim pipes and chat,
And inhale scents from pale flowers in the center of the square . . .
Strong men, tinkling women, and dripping, squealing children
Stroll past us, or into the shops.
They greet the shopkeepers, and touch their hats or foreheads to me . . .
Some evening I shall not return to my people.

This poem is in the public domain. Published in Poem-a-Day on August 26, 2023, by the Academy of American Poets.