The black brimmed hat is still
too big for his head, still pressing
down, trying to cover his small ears,
and the white letters of Police keep
fading into fraying cotton like the lips
of an ancient fresco. He visits
the same places each day—
passes a window at Joanie’s
as you decide the tip of a quick bite,
patrols a sidewalk that curls the lake
closed to swimmers or counts
the seconds under a traffic signal—
he’s still giving us a silent break
or inviting us to an annual,
imaginary ball. And, he’s been
riding an over-sized three-wheel
bicycle with twin antennas that
pick up nothing for twenty-five
years. At Least.
He’s the kind of man you can see
and be sure you know everything
about except the name you purposely
keep at some safe, awkward distance.
He’s the kind of man that one day
won’t be missed but remembered.
For awhile. I’m thinking he may even be
talked about long after all of us
are dead, especially if this is found
by some distant relative with a name
as distant as our little man’s is now.
I’m thinking one of my great-grandchildren
might set this aside someday along with
an envelope of old photographs picturing
downtown. I’m betting a three-wheeler
made of some undiscovered metal
will be parked behind his eyes,
that it holds the same beam of light
that led the little man home after a difficult
shift, the sounds of his beat following
like the friends he never had.
George Bishop was raised on the Jersey Shore before moving to Florida where he lives and writes. Recent work has appeared in Melusine, Splash of Red, Prick of the Spindle and Philadelphia Stories. Forthcoming work will be featured in Grey Sparrow Journal & Nova Scotia Review. His chapbook, Love Scenes, is available from Finishing Line Press & new chapbook, Marriage Vows and Other Lies, has been released by Flutter Press.