WAVING AT WILLY’S GHOST

Every day when I walked by, I waved.
Sometimes he’d come to the door,
leaning on his crutch.  He’d talk.

Shot one o’ them hawks not too long ago.
Useta was, me and Winston hunted bear
upta the cliffs.  ‘Course the hawks useta
get inta Mommy’s chickens, goldarn ‘em.
Mommy, now, she was a good ‘un,
but warn’t the same after the Alzenheimers.

Now he’s dead.
but Willy’s there–
squinty eyes, tobacco-stained stubble,
overalls, holey gray jersey, leather boots–

Judy, now, she takes me to Walmarts
overta Ticondroga.  They got bacco there,
well, hell of a lot cheaper than what ‘tis here, 
and them big Hershey bars.  ‘Course
they won’t let me drive no more.  
Useta could drive the dozer all day
and the truck all night, ‘course 
that was back when they didn’t care 
if a feller drank some, long’s he could
stay on the road.  Boi the geezus, it’s hard.
Goldarn hip, and them doctors ain’t worth 
a pinch o’ coonshit in hell. 

I still wave and he waves back
as he has for the thirty years I’ve lived on this road.
Useta was I took him ‘maters–NO!
tomatoes and beans.
When we moved here, old Willy was,
well, let me see,
about the same age’s I am now.
Boi the geezus, time goes by.
Judas priest.

June 4, 2009

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