Saw the old man sitting there by the ocean, wearing his angry red cape
& his floppy hat.  I said, Are you sad that time is passing, that sky
ignores you & ocean still ripples with joy on sunless days?   

He did not reply—he no longer had a mouth.  But I saw the birds
flit around the cage that his torso had become, heard their
rustling, wings wide open against their metal hills.  

Those hills rang blandly, but deer still came up to him to beg food,
robins hopped around his flat shoes looking for worms,
squirrels rifled in the surrounding shrubs.  

Are you empty?  I asked.  Sand shifted, grass crackled
in a dry wind, & gulls shrieked an answer.
Old man remained faceless, headless,  


~inspired by Magritte’s “The Therapist”