There is an older gentleman who lives in my neighborhood. He is broad shouldered with fine features, and a stance of a hard-worked life.
His truck is always clean and his driveway always plowed,
though I’ve not seen a soul to help him do either.
He sits on summer days in a plastic chair at the head of his drive watching traffic.
A broom or rake always resting across his knees.
When I pass, I honk and he waves.
In the evening his silhouette fills the long glass windows of his sunroom,
backlit by what appears to be the fluid colors of a television.
I do not know this gentleman,
but he has become a part of my routine,
to look for him sitting alone in his window,
to honk for a wave as I pass,
and to always ponder the possibility of bringing him a coffee and sitting awhile.
I imagine my presence filling the empty chair across the table from him in the sunroom,
or on the lawn cross-legged in the sun.
Just to know
Just to listen
Just to chat
I never have.
That Cynical Cecil inside my mind does more than just discourage art.
‘What would you say?’ It would ask.
‘How would you begin?’
‘How would he receive you — this young stranger with warm coffee and a smile…’
the weather has been too harsh for sitting at the end of a drive,
the wind too sharp for plastic chairs.
I look anyway,
waiting to honk at the silhouette in the sunroom,
sitting across from the empty chair that calls to me.
the lights behind the long glass windows are too dark for traffic watching…
the vacant sunroom too sharp for me to imagine my seat in the chair.
I didn’t know
I didn’t listen
I didn’t chat
My hand still hovers above my horn as I pass,
waiting for that faint glow of a television,
or perhaps that wave I have come to know…
But mostly I wait for that gentleman
with the broad shoulders