gray puddles of rain

it’s in the eyes
always
in the eyes
they’ll come to my desk
at the place where I work
asking about this or that
some come in
just to pay a bill
just for one more place
to go
once each month
something to fill the days
we’ll make some small talk
about the weather
about their children
about their bills
sometimes about the government
but almost never about religion
and absolutely never
about love
and everything a poet
could ever wish to know
and most of that
which he’d wish never be
again reminded
resides in their eyes
wistful hope
and desperation
and loneliness
and the creeping epiphany
that we are all dying slowly
that we haven’t much time
here–
and that– even so, we’ve often
more time than a soul can bear
but not enough courage
to leave this place
of our own accord
they tell me things
and when they are certain
that no one else can hear
sometimes, they even whisper
the truth
of their imperfection
and I tell them that I understand
tho some still walk with a strut
or with a twitching hip
that twirls a skirt’s woven folds
in circuitous seduction
most of them hobble in, limping
one leg dragging behind
even if unaware
and sometimes we talk
about the sunshine
outside
with a silent moment’s pause–
before returning to the matter
of the business
at hand
tho, as children
we played
in the sunshine
and we splashed
stomping our boots
in gray puddles of rain
as children
we knew only one thing
for certain–
we knew that we’d never grow old

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