a man sleeping on bench done
his story
 
two tattered brown suitcases at his feet
rested more comfortably than he could
shifting, he stretched out on the wooden bench
 
rain-soaked and cold
he pulled newspaper pages over his body
headlines of city news and local disappointments
 
obituaries no longer mattered
only names and vanity photos with short verses
and lies of how their lives might have been
 
no one page was warmer than another
there was no heart in wedding announcements
no spiritual awakening in church listings
 
it was cold, tuesday in late november
pages of the yadkin ripple lay draped over his face
yet he had not read any, words were but a blur
 
he wondered about life, listening to words he spoke
curious about choices he made, turns he had taken
there were no photographs of his life, no events
 
only two tattered brown suitcases knew his story
the places he had seen, the lies he had told
the bedrooms he had passed through to bring him here
 
he pulled another page to his eyes, covering his face
looking closely at wedding announcements and obituaries
wondering if he had yet made the news in either
 
 
tolbert
 

**i sent a note to the yadkin ripple letting them know i was using
their name here. i now say ‘thank you’ in advance.