Fred Longworth

In the 91st Year

The outline of a dolphin stenciled beside the storm drain
stops his eyes. He wonders how the dolphins
squeeze through the little sluiceway.
And what are they doing on the sidewalk anyway?

Gripping his cane, he steps closer.
He peers into a long dark slit at the foot of the curb.
Maybe they come out at night
and scavenge for food like possums and skunks.

He tries to picture this in his mind: dolphins lunging
along the sidewalk, heaving massive bodies down alleyways,
foraging in garbage cans. His thoughts won't come
to focus, like putting on the wrong glasses.

Suddenly, he wonders what he's doing here, staring
into a crevice below the curb. Before he stopped,
he was headed somewhere. The park? The market?
It's written in the little notebook he carries.

And that's right here, in his pocket. He rummages through
his clothes — jacket, shirt, and trousers.
He keeps checking the same places over and over.
He has a thousand pockets, and all of them are empty.

Fred Longworth restores vintage audio components for a living. His poems have appeared in numerous journals including Able Muse, California Quarterly, Comstock Review, Pearl, Rattapallax, Spillway, and Stirring.

previous story | next story
issue index