On Walking

 

A family sits chattering on the front porch, and a grand piano suns itself elegantly in the living room.

A couple walks a collection of hounds that have become strange and alien after centuries of inbreeding.

A middle-aged man rides a skateboard down the middle of the street. He still won’t give up on the seventies.

A family gathering on Yom Kippur; the women with their tichels, and the men with their yarmulkes.

A woman and her disabled son; they walk down the street two or three times a day. Their determination never leaves them even as the years pass by.

An older man on a shaky bicycle;  he seems confused and frail - maybe even dangerous, yet year after year he meanders his way up and down the street.

A woman with pursed lips and a tight bun; walking briskly in a pastoral skirt and sunny-day hat, up and down the street with purpose.

A man on an antique moped; hair wild, no helmet. He goes in circles on my street, too scared to test the fragile engine elsewhere.

Musicians play on porches. Their songs carry past my own music and the drum beats echo across the whole block.

A peach tree whose peaches never get picked. The peaches rot on the stems even when the snow falls in January.

A young family grows and changes. The mother smokes cigarettes on the front porch; the father and the baby babble in tongues as they walk inside.

The homeless make their way to the street of shops to panhandle or just wait for low tide to reveal the lost treasure. They come with shaggy dogs and lost expressions.

I wave to neighbours and exchange pleasantries in indecipherable phrases.

On Fridays and Saturday, happy couples laugh home from the restaurants. On the weekdays, runners race to the promise land of lean legs and flat stomachs.

In the winter, drunk carolers and anarchists rule the night.

In the summer, lemonade stands and yard sales corrode the sidewalk.   

A woman warns me to be careful, to listen with at least one ear struck out. Does she know what I see?

I see the world when I walk. It dances in front of me. I am invisible with earbuds and a distant glance, but a layer of separation brings me a thousand times closer to what hides right outside my door.

What we seek not to see, is all we can ever notice. ​​​​​​​

Cora Mae Margaret Lewis

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All poems are copyrighted 2019 by their respective authors and may not be used elsewhere without their express permission.