Larry Something, 13B

Mark Kraushaar

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.

Mark Kraushaar is the author The Uncertainty Principle. He lives in Wisconsin.
Originally published:
March 1, 2022

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