View From a Park Bench

The ancient sycamore
spreads above my head.
The branches on one side
stretch far from the trunk.
They grow up and out
seek new horizons
respect the guidance of the past.
On the other side
the tree’s limbs are stunted
their barren boughs sprout twisted twigs
that fall to wretched winds
of opportunism
and join with
vulnerable new growth
to embrace oblivion.

I sit on my park bench
under the sycamore
and read my book as I have
every day
since I was a child.
However, now I am old.
My youth, my friends and family have gone.
I’m rarely invited to join in conversation
with strangers.
So I sit
and read
and watch
and take careful note of those
who frequent my park.

A young boy peddles past me
as water sloshes from the bottle
strapped to the backpack
that swings from the handlebars of his bike.
A dancer who lives in the upscale apartment house
on the other side of the park
hurries by in her ballerina slippers
with the tulle of her tutu
peeking out from the garment bag
she has thrown over her shoulder.
I keep a close eye on the techie
with the charger cord hanging from his canvas briefcase
as he talks on his phone in a language I do not understand.
And the homeless woman
who sleeps in the alley next to my house
shuffles by carrying a Superman backpack and matching lunch pail
she has retrieved from the playground sandbox.

Like I, only young,
an average looking man
sits opposite me
on a park bench
under a defoliated tree.
He taps away on his keyboard
pausing for an interval
to receive an answer before tap-tapping his response.
Slowly
casually
he places his nondescript backpack under the bench
rises from his seat
sends a final message
and throws his disposable phone into the trash can.

I look up into the bleached branches
of the leafless tree
under which I sit
and
wait
knowing that the eyes and ears
of America’s watchdogs
have been silenced.
No one is monitoring the average looking man.
There will be no last minute rescue like on TV.
Instead I and my ancient sycamore
will succumb
to the same fate
as the twisted twigs
that fall to the wretched winds of opportunism.

(Posted on dVerse Poets Open Link Night #163, January 07, 2016).

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This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, Micro Fiction, Poetry, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to View From a Park Bench

  1. Fall of all social
    animal empires
    rests on
    heels no
    longer fitting
    social roles to live..
    whether claw.. hoof..
    leather.. or bare foot..:)

  2. Grace says:

    You take me with you as you observe the people under the ancient tree ~ It’s interesting to see and imagine what happens next when the young man throws away his disposable phone in the trash ~ There is a tension and mystery to the ending, perhaps a shocking one (I can only guess) ~

    Thanks for linking up with D’verse and wishing you happy weekend ~

  3. Abhra says:

    A beautiful and intimate people where you make me see the world in your eyes, see all of those people around you – all the richness coming alive in your words…well penned.

  4. I really like how you describe the little stories people carry with them. All quite ordinary till you come to the man throwing away a disposable phone, when I start to believe it’s only the beginning of something far bigger… To do thriller poetry is quite novel.

  5. The latest terror attacks is obviously raw in one’s consciousness. Oye!

  6. Mary says:

    For me this poem started out in a peaceful observant mood and ended up with a feeling that there was something sinister going on underneath it all. A uniquely creative poem.

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