The old man has mastered
the art of parallel living:
he is ten years old in
the droning heat of July 1940,
as he waits under the 'Don't Walk' sign.
He knows all about time travel,
how to portal between
the checkout counter at Walmart
and the fishing boat his father ran
on the coastal waterway.
The tremor you see on his lip
is what's left of the joke he told
his friends on the riverbank
that afternoon in '48.
They were bronzed from the summer's days,
butting each other like goats, hard of muscle,
careless in their daring. They looked no farther
than tomorrow, could not imagine a day when
kneeling to tie a shoe required some planning.
The hands that clutch the wheelchair's rims
are calloused, blue-veined and brown.
The eyes squint against the long, slow sun.
'Don't Walk' says the sign.
2 thoughts on “Glory Then”
This piece resonates with an encounter I had today, while volunteering in a first grade class where all the students wanted to tell me they were seven. I laughed at their exuberance and told them that in a few months I would be 7 times 10. Learning to count by 10s, they quickly ascertained my upcoming age. They all sat stock-still quiet.
What a moment! They must have been shocked into silence by such a large number.