To the Old Man Walking and All the Other Scary People in the World

Photograph by Jose Padua
Today I discovered that the guy
I always see walking down
my street, a friendly looking old
man to whom I’ll nod and wave
and who always waves back,
is listed for the sex offender
registry in my zip code and
is on probation for sexual battery
involving a minor, indicted just
two years ago meaning that he was
already an old man when this happened
unlike the guy with the run-down shop
off of the Avenue who was
convicted of rape over thirty
years ago. I share my neighborhood
with them, my town, my world.
There are scary people everywhere
I look, walking, working, living in
apartments on Main Street, drinking
coffee quietly while reading the
paper, sitting at a bench by the gazebo
admiring the beauty of the fall’s colors.
The boy I used to see walking past
my house would always say hello,
now he says nothing, with age sometimes
creating nothing more than distance,
distress, crime and a million other things
both great and small to be afraid of.
The handyman with the long hair who
fancied himself a lawyer at heart
because he loved to talk and
who didn’t want to disturb the grass
looks down to the sidewalk, his mouth
shut tight because like rocks high
upon the mountain, everything has
the tendency to fall, turn frail, or make
horrible mistakes. We sit at night sometimes,
listening to the wind knowing it’s the process
by which brightly colored leaves drop
to the ground—or do they float, and are
we all just lifting to a new existence,
a dimension where every strange movement
we make will be understood? On some
nights the owner of the beauty salon
on the quiet side street will leave
the shop lights on. No one’s inside,
and the memory of each gone day
seems more beautiful each time we
walk away, the people talking gently
amongst themselves behind closed
windows, lowering themselves to brush
the dirt off of the floor, then lifting themselves
up at the knees, believing with all
the strength of each worn, tired muscle
that this is what it means to have a soul.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s