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
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
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
So I sit
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.
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
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
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).