The Old Man at the Rest Stop

Along the road.
Along the road.

He haunts the two story grounds

where all the buses and some

of the private cars go to rest,

shuffling along and always on

the search for salvageable goods.

His coat is two sizes too large,

lightened by the dust of the earth

that is slowly decaying into

nothing but desert sands and

irritable grains with no promise.

Flattened cigarettes left behind by

impatient travelers are his

calling cards, puffing voraciously

as he transfers the flame from

one sad stick to the other.

Empty cigarette boxes and towels

protrude from his pockets in

his misplaced steps, his child-like

gaze transfixes on something

not one of us around him can see.

The buses leave, the taxis depart,

and he stands for a while watching

them go in opposite directions,

motionless save for the gentle

tugging of his chest from breathing.

The stop is all he knows and he

knows there is nothing permanent

about anything that comes through

so he kicks stones and watches

the road slowly being crushed under wheels.

Composed 04/02/14

Author’s Note: As my time dwindles here, I wonder about many things. I find individual people I see on the street more fascinating now, especially the older men. I see the younger men and think how bold, outspoken, and raucous they are, and wonder how their futures are going to play out. I wonder about the old men, too, and how their pasts lead them to where they are now. It makes me wonder about my own future and my own past, and how my present sets the tone for both. Restless mind this spring.

Also, it’s NaPoWriMo¬†(National poetry writing month) here on WordPress! I will be trying to participate behind the scenes, and you can expect some of them to end up in future Thursday poetry updates. Cheers!

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