Old Man Walnut
Andrea Rogers

 

nothing could be done,
we were pounding
the pavement
with our little white shoes,
the dirt billowing

the bullies were bullying,
the team captains captaining,
and Old Man Walnut
was safely nestled
in his shed

he lived in the woods,
they said,
somewhere just beyond
the reach of the eye,

that guy you pass on
the street but don't
notice until
he gets mythified

he's limping by
as you fill your cart
with groceries,
his one lazy eye
roving

his little flag is flying
as he whistles
slowly by

you'll never see him
coming
but he'll come

he'll come by

his face will have
the kind of features
you can't memorize


his fingers will
involve themselves
with hair you
can't describe

his feet will come
to rest just before
the fenceline

craning over
he'll announce something
skeezy and smooth-
sounding

you'll arc your head,
tipping one ear up
toward the sky

his offer will be
scintillating,
seducing your brain
like several small serpents

his hand will reach
through the holes in
the fence,

you won't know how,
you won't know why,
it's just the way
you've always visualized

his fumbling fingers,
snaking through,
encircling your wrist
like it's nothing,

pulling you through
and through like nothing
into nothing,
nowhere

he'll be there
on the other side, he'll be there


he'll be the one
you remember
but can't recognize