They Call Him Haynes By Taylor Graham

They Call Him Haynes

You’ll see him walking slow
up Broadway past Starbucks headed for
Grocery Outlet, or the dark hills above strip-
mall – winding paths up through brush.
You’d think he’d wear a track in sidewalk,
all that walking without getting anywhere.
When was the last time he signed
a check, or marked a ballot? blacking
the oval that might make something
better of the world. They say he still has
memories from before most of us were born.
He ripped off his name-tag at the shelter,
couldn’t get the hang of such a place.
He keeps a rosary sticking out of his
pocket, and his familiar route up Broadway
maybe as far as what used to be
Greyhound station, a bramble-patch at hill’s
bottom. Blackberry smudges on his mouth.
He’ll look you in the eye, and smile,
and he waves at all the traffic going by.

By Taylor Graham

Taylor Graham is a volunteer search-and-rescue dog handler in the Sierra Nevada, and serves as El Dorado County’s first poet laureate (2016-2018). The places she searches and trains her dogs are often where the homeless camp or were recently evicted. Her poems are included in Homeless Issues (newsletter of the local Job’s Shelter of the Sierra) as well as the anthologies Villanelles (Everyman’s Library) and California Poetry: From the Gold Rush to the Present (Santa Clara University). Her latest books are What the Wind Says (Lummox Press, 2013) and Uplift (Cold River Press, 2016).

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