The Troll

This might be one now, coming up
through the heavy shrubs where Cottonwood Creek
runs under the one lane bridge
at the edge of the park,
scratching his scalp, buttoning his top
two buttons.

Or maybe like me,
he’s just out early
on a Sunday morning mission,
taking some air
on this last day of winter.

I’m still wearing last night’s rumpled hair
and haggard face, but I’ve come out
to look for crocuses
planted years ago
by someone else, poking up
through last fall’s unraked leaves.

And I see not much has changed
since I was a boy in another town
in a state far east of here.  I know a narrow path
leads back through sprawling roses
and barberry bushes, then on down
a rocky embankment.  I remember the thorns,
the cool bitter taste of the leaves.

And the time I first went down,
despite all the warnings,
in the heat of summer,
to take my hard consolation
alone by the stone fire circle,
the dirty magazines
and flattened cardboard boxes,
where nothing grew.

Hear it:


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