imageRobert Bradshaw
The Sign

 The dirt was like my landlord.
 It had no sympathy for fools.
 I dragged the hoe across the hard dirt.
 Nothing grew here, unless
 the landlord had former tenants
 buried under my feet.
 My only fear was getting robbed
 the days I got my welfare check.
 "Get a job," my landlord repeated.
 I'm saving my nickels.
 "Give up the booze first,"
 he said.  Fate's against me,
 I answered. "Sure, it is.
 Fate's against every man 
 who's as thirsty
 as a leaky radiator."
 I ignored his advice.
 I was too busy raking my hoe 
 across our empty

 But when I looked down
 into the canyon I saw my neighbor's
 lot.  A babe was stretched out
 on a lounge chair, her skin
 shimmering with oils.  A gift.
 A string bikini was holding her
 together, like string tied loosely
 around a Christmas gift.
 She had rolls of dough, sure.
 But she had  breasts like fresh loaves.
 And wrap around sunglasses.
 I quickly borrowed my landlord's
 binoculars.  I leaned over the cliff
 that defined my backyard.
 Her buns rose like yeast
 in my lens as she turned over.
 God had forgiven me for lifting
 a twenty from a collection plate
 five years ago.  The bill
 was paid.  I went down
 to the state employment office
 the next morning.  This
 was a sign.  Something to hang
 my hopes on.  I  knew
 my luck was gonna