He was a peddler in a horse-drawn wagon

that sank beneath his load of humongous

watermelons, bright yellow corn, bushels

of gladiolas and mountains of red grapes.

He sang his way up and down

the ethereal sheen of blueness on the Danube.

His smiling face endeared himself to the ladies

from Bucharest to Constantinople.

He sold silk stockings, corsets and perfume

to female customers and clarinets, castanets

and tambourines to the musically inclined.

He lived in a state of astonishment and awe—

his life was a poem. An ebullient salesman,

he side-stepped pogroms and massacres

and never knew a melancholy hour.

With a ravenous appetite for adventure,

he was on fire. He reached for each moment

as if that was the only way he could put the fire out,

until a venomous spirochete lodged in his spine,

working its way to his brain as he took his last breath.

Scars of love were written

that kept the skin of the cosmos

alive with light

on his soul.

His body once vibrated with a passion