Rag Man of Middletown


In Buchenwald
his sister turned into a bird
and flew out the chimney stack.

 

In America
he found a wife
then lost her.

 

An old man with sooty eyes
and sooty pants, he steers
a baby carriage brimming

 

with rags. Here and there
on the roadside, he bows low
to passing cars. Tips the hat

 

he isn't wearing. Bends
in the weeds to pick cloth
for the emperor's new clothes.


---Joan I. Siegel
(Witness Vol. XX)