The Coil
Published in

The Coil

Broken Waltz, City Street

Poem by S. R. Aichinger

Last thing you heard him say to you that day
was that as a child he wished he’d been born a tree.

He was always saying things like that, so you cut him
one quick side smile before letting the city’s mess

distract you: cyclist careening between cars, cars honking
at bus blocking intersection, bus waiting on elderly

woman crossing the street. Something about the broken
waltz of that bent old woman’s walk — left-right-cane,

left-right-cane — reminded you of another odd thing
he’d said in the park two summers earlier: “The city

always distracts us from someone struggling to say
goodbye.” You had dismissed it as his typical nonsense,

forgetting all about it until now, so you spun around
to face him, the street in streaks of your only question:

What —

But he was already gone, another smear in the mess,
& you just stood there with a trickle from your lips:

— kind of tree?

S. R. AICHINGER is a writer living in Omaha, Nebraska. His poems have appeared in Into the Void Magazine, Bluestem, Cruel Garters, O:JA&L, Ghost City Review, and IDK Magazine, among others. “Broken Waltz, City Street” is the first poem he wrote that he feels proud of.
Third place winner of the 2018 Luminaire Award for Best Poetry

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Coil Poetry

Coil Poetry

Poetry at The Coil: An Independent Literary Magazine at http://thecoilmag.com. Contact Poetry Editor Lewis J. Phillips at poetry@thecoilmag.com. #CoilMag