The Old Man by Richard Weaver

In the darkening slush of afternoon traffic,
he unfolds a chair beneath a lone sycamore
then urges his body into its crooked shape.
Always at this hour, even as rain slickens
Elysian Fields, he sits and outwaits the sun
as if for someone to return, or the familiar
judgment of a voice grown marble smooth.
Something from the street calling to him,
urging him to rise up from the green lawn
and chair, He might have been carved out of air,
he seems that content, as it he’s waiting
for the reflections of a chrome sun off a taxi.
Sliding up to the curb like night, its horn
might split the moon. It drains the green light.
If streetlights are stars returned to earth,
he’s unmoved by their presence, and immune
to their red pulsing. If he folds his chair now,
it collapses like one austere season into another.
One cold winter of memory that lasts and lasts.

large bent limb of sycamore
Sycamore Leaves by Coconino National Forest. CC license.

Richard Weaver
Richard Weaver lives in Baltimore, Md. where he volunteers with the Maryland Book Bank. His book, The Stars Undone, was taken from a larger collection about the Mississippi artist Walter Anderson; four other poems later became the libretto for a symphony, composed by Eric Ewazen of Juilliard, and performed four times to date.

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