The Reader

by Michael Yaworsky

A sage old man sits looking, seeing		
	reading under shaded tree			
of life and print he looks past / through /
	beyond / and into written word
and, raising eyebrows comically
	o’er spectacles on wrinkled cheeks
he scans obituaries
	buried hid between the garish ads
as, open wide, his eyes drink up
	the ciphers laying bare souls / lives
of friends and lovers, soulmates all
	to slip beneath the blitz of words
aiming to their meaning true
	to conjure up the countless storied
images of companions past
	even as now they resurrect
the details and betray the names
	to all eyes, set stark in contrast
lino-rendered timeless there.						

“Ah yes,” he whispers tenderly
	as lovingly he clutches fast
this scripted recollection,
	indelible, ineradicable,	
comprising leaf, nay sheaf, of summ’d achievements
	of his erstwhile compatriots
whose hearts and faces all comprise
	his memories and banked emotions
tranquil resting now within his
	musings as his seeing / knowing eyes	
seek / confer a vested peace
	that seeps into the corners of his

It fails to daunt the spark of seeing-eye
	in kindly wizened man.				

“Ah yes,” he mutters distractedly
	yet sagely and with patience full
recalling souls and spirits, the
	enchanting and enchanted, these
the holy subjects of the chronicles,
	with whom he intermingled once,
beating were whose hearts once wildly,
	breathlessly who seized at living’s
respirate, its cooling airs.			
	Today they rest, no more to suck their
life’s breath from the common store.
	But even as they rest
their sweet repose is touched anew
	enlivened as it were by steady constant gaze
of olding man with even stare
	and as he touches, is he touched
by these his neighbors who,
	albeit wanting in capacity,
of enlivening stuff still are full possessed.

But gone, gone the flickers are
	that fiercely, once, set countenance			

“Ah yes,” he murmurs dreamily
	as he folds another leaf and
lays the paper down beside him
	to close his eyes and rest.
“Ah yes,” he mouths as graying temple
	slips to nod upon the shoulder
of his benchmate, one who knows him well
	as the two stare off together
in th’uncomprehending distance
	with ever heavier eyelids
as the evening comes anon.		
Seeing, knowing, sensing, feeling,
	feeding much upon the
fulsome banquet wrinkling now within his hands,
	the wise old man,
the reader, the gleaner,
	the doer and the seer,
sated of the heady nutriment,
	doth sleep.

Michael Yaworsky is a retired legal editor who lives in Rochester’s 19th Ward with his family.