—a poem by Wayne F. Burke

he arrives in the pocket park
off Main Street
carrying a radio
and says to me
"I will shut this off in a minute"
and I nod and say "alright"
and I return to the drawing I am making
in my notebook.
"Hey! You!" he says
and I look up:
he has gray hair and a black patch over his
right eye.
"I will shut this off in a minute."
"Fuck you."
"Oh, that's nice. I am trying to be a nice guy
and I run into a grumpy old man."
"Go somewhere else and be nice."
"I live here. Where do you live?"
"Get fucked."
"And the horse you rode in on."
He sits.
A vague presence in the corner of my eye.
I continue my drawing until I am done.
When I leave
will he say "have a nice day?"
And if he does
will I go berserk?
I hear him shuffle away but
he is back in half a tick
and sits
and sticks his nose into a book
and I get up and leave
and am glad
I do not hear his voice
but wonder too
if I really do look old.

Wayne F. Burke's poetry has appeared in a variety of publications. His three published poetry collections, all from Bareback Press, are WORDS THAT BURN, DICKHEAD, and KNUCKLE SANDWICHES. A fourth collection, A LARK UP THE NOSE OF TIME, is due out in 2017. His chapbook PADDY WAGON is published by Epic Rites Press. He lives, or tries to anyway, in the central Vermont area (USA).