Carlos tosses my Mercury News
from the window of one bangedy car
after another with dead-eye aim
to my brick step year after year.
At Christmas I tip him.
Started with a twenty, now it’s a fifty
which come to think of it
follows his age.
I delivered the Washington Star
six decades previous
from a Radio Flyer wagon.
Saved up to buy a hatchet and a knife
with a sheaf I could wear on a belt.
I went to high school, college.
Wrote books, worked construction,
raised a family, lost the knife,
still have the hatchet.
Newspapers dying everywhere
but here comes Carlos with the sunrise.
You can hear that holey muffler
and when he’s gone, here’s what’s new
in the lingering smell
of blue exhaust.
Joe Cottonwood repairs homes for money and writes poems for reasons he can’t explain. He lives under redwood trees in La Honda, California dodging wildfires and playing with grandchildren. His most recent book of poetry is Random Saints.