Friday Poem

Main Street: Tilton, New Hampshire

I waited in the car while he
went into the small old-fashioned grocery
for a wedge of cheddar.

Late summer, Friday afternoon.
A mother and child walked past
trading mock blows
with paper bags full of —what—
maybe new clothes for school.
They turned the corner by the Laundromat,
and finally even the heel
of the girl’s rubber flip-flop
passed from sight.

Across the street a blue pickup, noisy,
with some kind of homemade wooden
scaffolding in the bed pulled
close to the curb. A man got out
and entered the bank . . .
………………………………….. A woman sat
in the cab, dabbing her face
with tissue. She might have been weeping,
but it was hot and still,
and maybe she wasn’t weeping at all.

Through time and space we came
to Main Street—three days before
Labor Day, 1984, 4:47 in the afternoon;
and then that moment passed, displaced
by others equally equivocal.

by Jane Kenyon
from Otherwise
Graywolf Press, 1997