Man on the Sidewalk

by William Woolfitt
Somehow they fight off bankruptcy, the wasting disease.
Margie’s Variety Store, Health & Beauty Aides, the gun shop, 
	buildings with fissures in the walls, cardboard flaps 
		to patch the windows.  
He sits on the curb all afternoon, a time of drowsy reverie.  
No cars go by, no people, absence that could be a sign.  
He stares at storefront windows, dozing television screens.  
Lunch at four, peanut butter crackers and deviled eggs.
He wishes he could call in sick every day, 
take it easy here, his favorite cement seat, 
	content that hot supper and pie in the shy 
		curves of his doe-faced wife await him at home.  
He doesn’t hear the landlady, a rustle in slippers and robe, 
	coming down the stairs behind him, wraith’s careful gait                               
		and archer-eyed, bringing a broom to sweep dust, 
			crumbs and watchers away.

© 2003 by William Woolfitt. All rights reserved.