Then I was younger and between towns
where people waited for me to sell them
either Styrofoam cups or glass figurines,
ballerinas, clowns—I don’t remember.
No interstate then: windbreaks, bankrupt
farms bending to the road, the hills
kneeling like believers in the cold light
just after dawn, so close to where I passed—
yes, a hushed congregation emerging
from shadow, coming forward without
showing its face, but reaching, palms out
like an offering, given but not held, waiting,
an expectation that needed my approach.