Small Town Sunday Pastoral
Except for the gray pensioner with the cane
staring into Shea’s closed hardware store,
Delaware Avenue’s deserted,
a shimmering quiet over the town.
Through a window open on Lehigh Street
the murmur of a baseball game.
A bachelor who spent a late night
at the Sokol Hall dozes on a front room couch.
In the shade of a backyard grape arbor
a woman still in her apron settles into the paper.
Her husband in the sleeveless T-shirt waters
his tall, purple delphiniums,
while a yellow dog strays down the dirt alley
where a boy bounces a rubber ball
off a peeling shed back to himself.
Someone is drawn back to a kitchen
to pick at the leftover roast.
From Hazard Road to Residence Park
it’s slow and easy: the usual
weekday arguments exhausted,
the only siren Helen Babarsky on a chaise lounge
sunning herself in red halter and shorts,
and the one who’s slipping away
comes back through the screen door
with two quarts of ice cream,
one butter pecan and one cherry vanilla,
just as those who love him
notice he’s gone.