The bridge is the gypsies’ ceiling; every summer
they travel to the stones of this dry river
with the rag and bone of all the family
and set up residence, no door, no key.
The men stand at the bar; the women wash
the clothes, and lay them out on a thorn bush
or the hot stones, then retire to the shade
to watch them dry. They have no money; trade
is what the river gives away, the scrap
the wealthy town dumps off the bridge. Cars drop
broken on the rocks; cookers, burnt out,
a red armchair, some prams, a plastic bucket,
a doll’s head, an umbrella. And the shoes,
the single shoes of Spain, those mysteries
of slipper, boot, stiletto without a pair,
useful only to the lottery-ticket seller
with two left feet, or a dancer with one leg;
eyes lacking laces, soles all broken tongues.
September, they move on to the winter bridges,
leaving some shoes, and several empty fridges.