“Old Man on the Bench” by Heidi Bellile


Caught in a blizzard that year,

I watched the blanket enclose

As a hush fell over the land.

It kept floating in a free fall.

I tried to shake the freeze and flakes.

 

The park bench at Times Square

Made the grey frosted beard,

Buried in white, crystallize. Still…

The snow angel rested near,

Another sleeping beauty.

 

Old Man Winter’s breath

Did not rise to cloud the view

Of the high rises scraping the sky.

The powder puff flakes fell still

Down from the Heavens to Mother.

 

The Father in black visited the oil

Barrel where the old man’s friends

Warmed their hands, fingers poking

Through fingerless gloves. Panhandling

Pigeons waiting for their last supper

 

…the broken bread never came.

The city train still clattered,

Staked to the tracks like

The Old Man on the Bench.

No one here knew his name.