Recklessly, I grew attached to them.
That summer, everyone in town was eighty,
good looking, and smart. Oh, Sid was slow,
but he turned the women’s heads
when he ambled into the gym,
and Nancy had the bones of a model
and a wicked laugh at her own infirm leg.
Paul thought like a scientist, precise,
complex, a little long-winded
describing his many intricate projects.
All of them had projects; the only thing
they couldn’t do anymore was drive.
I drove, able to pretend
I was the generous youngster I’d been
so good at, offering an arm, opening a door,
pointing to a cracked step. Courtly,
with a bit of a bow
in the generosity of youth,
or even middle age, although
when I caught their eye
in the moment when gratitude and fear
were one, I had to count to ten
(ten? no, fifteen; years!)
not to hate them, hate the town
where old people held sway
as if it would always be their town.
We hung out that summer, me driving
to the terraced restaurants, raising a glass of wine
to their chic martinis, and together watching
the sun slip below the deep violet hills,
then driving home on the dark, familiar roads.
Published in Paterson Literary Review Issue 42, 2014-2015
Honorable Mention, 2013 Allen Ginsburg Poetry Awards
In The Scheme of Things, 2015