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Watching the Men Walk Poem

Watching the Men Walk Poem

The man with the gold lighter lights five
tan cigarettes. Anoints the drizzle
with smoke. On his wrist: one watch
at 6 o’clock, one at 9:05.

And then the men walk. They walk
toward a mustard-colored building
where a band of boys sits on the roof
drinking the last of last year’s vodka.

I raise my window to hear their toasts. Adieu
to the dregs of their country’s potatoes.
The song from their boombox wafts off
into the smoke from five cigarettes
hovering over five new strategies.

The men in black wingtips glance up,
at the wet young faces. Nod.,
Who among us can help,
but tap our toes, though it’s a song
about the world’s end.

Nance Van Winckel
first published in Seneca Review, vol. XXX, no. 2, Fall 2000
also from Beside Ourselves

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