Just before disco and after the Beatles
I took the Greyhound bus to a town in Vermont.
I got a room and found work.
I walked a lot.
There was a Larry something lived next door.
Wheaton was it? Wooten?
We shared the hall, we shared a view:
a Mobile station plus a thatch of weeds.
Larry liked to say he’d been around.
Back when . . ., he’d start, In my time . . ., he’d explain
then show me photos:
Chevy Nova, classmate, Army days.
A tippler, reclusive and gentle, Larry seemed
a kind of incidental flowering himself.
Oh, I’ve lived he’d say, but it’s like I’m disappearing,
I don’t get out—I should, I don’t.
Still, Larry loved to fix things—mowers, TVs, toasters—
then one day, inviting me in to scope a junk-picked BarcaLounger,
we stepped out for air on his balcony,
a tired iron walk no wider
than a folding cot, when just below us
from her truck the mail lady waved.
It had rained, the sun was out and Larry,
at rest on a milk crate, wanting to wave too,
starting to stand, staggered and sat back, not drunk
but as against the movement of the world.
Wayland. Larry Wayland. Sure.