In Stir

The man squirms at the fringe
of the Farmer’s Market,
claims his cranny, and wild
smiles a grimace.

His quarrels turn to spittle across the sidewalk.
Viscous, thick as lubricant,
his words drool
from the corners of
his downturned mouth
onto the front of his threadbare shirt.

Leaning forward he defies gravity,
hovering face-down as if feet
are locked in concrete.
Jerking violently, he straightens
then slides down the side of the building
that guards his back until he sits
in quasi-lotus.

“Tourniquet” he mumbles.

Just that one word escapes
as he pulls a grimy bag
with a smiley face
over his head.

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