Bio Note: A time to reap? I reaped this poem, Ghost Town, Weekend, Summer, out of the pandemic, though pickings have been slim for me and, I hear, for many of us poets. I know the pandemic’s not over and might never be, and it seems that Covid-poems are becoming passe. I think we're tired of the world the virus—and we— have made, or it's just part of pretending and hoping we'll all be all right. May it be so.
Ghost Town, Weekend, Summer
Shades drawn, I used to figure them all for the beach, the rich out east, grazing on small plates accompanied by sour wine that cost as if it ought to taste good. The young still in bed with one other heedless of time long as they make it to the door while their GrubHub’s a little warm. I don’t begrudge such small pleasures here in this town that feels like desperation. I take the usual route, down my street, up toward the north-- the direction the rain arrives-- so I might meet it first and hope the heat breaks over my body. I cut off at the ladder that runs up the Highlands-- not a soul at the church beside, not even Merton’s ghost-- he played nearby as a kid and, according to lore, never seemed completely settled. Past the last wooded lot in town, which, if I stop a moment, emits a sound that’s somewhere between what’s shrill and holy, only the dogs attend. At the drug store, while I await my meds a guy stops in for Lottery. Seems to know his numbers by heart and I stare too hard, perhaps, happy to see anyone so certain and possessed. Any luck? I ask, but he pulls his mask one notch tighter round his mouth, and clenches his jaw as if to say to the clerk, Who is this jerk? I’m glad to see what might be done with only wit and memory. I like this guy--reminds me of me-- and avert a stare to assure him, at least this once, with soft, forgiving eyes I won’t make off with his winnings or the purloined love of his family. I say, Sorry, Bud, for the bother, as if we never met before, and promise we’ll never speak again, as if he weren’t my own brother.
©2022 Alan Walowitz
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