In the park a man sits

In the park a man sits 
with a foot in his lap, 
asking birds about work and dirt.

Earlier, I fingered a bulge
swelling at the joint
where left leg meets pelvis.

Maybe infected lymph nodes
teach what it’ll feel like 
when I too lose control of life.

Not today. I woke early,
dressed and left our room
for the treadmill.

When the machine failed 
I took the stairs to the ground floor,
pushed out the door

and headed south 
through tree-covered streets 
toward the man’s morning question.

His white shoes echoed 
the fountain and men whipping,
catching, whipping a Frisbee.

For years I could live here
and never again see the park
awakening in just this way,

or this man wondering,
“What about that bit of ground there?”
coaxing his morning companion

toward a hunk of bread he’d thrown,
which the bird, for the work it took, 
might’ve mistaken for the whole world.

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