He could be Walt Whitman,
sitting here with a saw outside Bookshop Santa Cruz.
To the bashful but curious toddler in his father’s arms
he might look like a grandfather
the boy hasn’t met yet.
“How ‘bout I play you a song you know?”
Saw handle between his knees,
the old man bends the blade and guides a bow
across its flat edge.
Haunting tones float over us,
and the little boy recognizes the tune
at the same time I do.
“Twinkle, twinkle, little star …”
Played on a musical saw,
the humble notes are ethereal as starlight.
Does the old man know that
today is the Feast of Epiphany?
Or is he, like father and child,
an unwitting king,
the three magi
offering their gifts here on Pacific Avenue?