Travelers Welcome

Travelers Welcome

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Man with a Broom

by David Chorlton

If anyone could sweep the sky clean
it would be the man who spends his days
between Third Avenue and Fifth
never far from Thomas Road,
but he can only reach the numbers
on the speed limit signs
which he dusts, day after day,

and swishes clean the sidewalk
with short and nervous movements,
left right, left right, rest
a minute and continue, square
by concrete square. He leans his bicycle
against a wall, takes down the bucket
hanging from the handlebars

and arranges what pass
for possessions on the ground
before starting. His face bears the same
expression on Monday
as on Friday, and for him there are
no weekends. Dirt settles
each Saturday, Sunday, on all
the areas for which
he takes responsibility. Back and forth,

he rides week-long, filling all his hours
while traffic passes; the pizza business opens
and closes; streetlamps
light up and go off; while the heat
reaches a hundred-and-ten; while it falls
to thirty at night in December; through
sudden rain and lightning flash;
while the ambulance rushes to save
someone’s life when it’s late; while

the mockingbird above him
perching on the power pole
sings from its little grey heart
for anyone who’ll place business on hold
and listen to the silver coated notes.

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