We humored him as he made his rounds,

selling candy from a cardboard box

and his shirt-cardboard paintings

of grinning, paisley-shaped animals.

We would mock him, fool or simpleton,

and buy his pictures for a quarter.


Years later I watch with my son

the amazing maneuvers on the campus lawn

of a jugglers’ convention. Sam is there,

as before, but feeble and less coherent.

His paintings are larger, more accomplished,

the creatures peaceful and multi-legged.


Prices are high, he tells me;

“I pay for the cardboard now

and I use more paint. They wrote me up

in the magazine last year.”

He puts his hand on my son’s head

and I pay five dollars for a picture.


That’s cheap for anyone’s masterpiece,

a smiling eight-legged monster

that bears another monster inside,

and cheap for my son, at seven, to be blessed

among jugglers in the springtime

by one of God’s own fools.


One comment

  1. bkr0sen · · Reply

    I followed the link. One of God’s own fools painted the pictures; another kind of fool stored them.

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