La Vita Nuova
Last summer, in the blue heat,
by Weldon Kees
Over the beach, in the burning air,
A legless beggar lurched on calloused fists
To where I waited with the sun-dazed birds.
He said, "The summer boils away. My life
Joins to another life; this parched skin
Dries and dies and flakes away,
Becomes your costume when the torn leaves blow."
--Thus in the losing autumn,
Over the streets, I now lurch
Legless to your side and speak your name
Under a gray sky ripped apart
By thunder and the changing wind.