My 2nd Story Window

When I was a much younger man
I would sit at my 2nd story window
And look out at a town
Where nothing much happened.

It was attached
To a small room
Situated above a photography studio.

I had no neighbors
No visitors
No desire
To have neighbors
Or visitors.

I could see a four-way intersection
Where the four-way stop signs
Would go unused for hours.

There was a gas station
Across the street
That became the forgotten linen shirt
Hanging in a forgotten closet
Of a condemned home
That is now filled
With faded soda cans
And crisp yellow newspapers
And splintered wood
That dangles from a single nail
That local hooligans spin
Like the arm of a paper scarecrow
Hanging on the wall
Of some classroom
In Illinois.

There was a payphone
Mounted to the sidewalk
Where the gas station’s blacktop drive ended.

Looking out
At the closed diner on the corner,
The dark antique shop
And the golden treasures
That leaned against its storefront window,
Homes with no porch lights,
A streetlamp’s circular glow
On overgrown weeds sprouting upward
From the cracks of a gray road
That baked under a humid sun
For so long
Steam would still rise
Off it’s gooey surface
Until late at night,
I would sit at my 2nd story window
And look out at a town
Where nothing much happened.

But then something would happen.

Some large person,
Whose gender
Was ambiguous from a distance,
Would stagger up to the phone
Drunk on cheap beer
And winded
From a lifetime of rotten cigarettes,
100’s,
Menthol.

They’d pick the phone up,
Summon a cough
That sounded like the loose rocks
Of a driveway
Grinding beneath the tires of a semi.

Out of breath,
This person would suck in
The thick refinery air
Deep into their core
And it sounded
Like a punctured tire
Slowly losing air.

They’d insert coins
Dial
Lay into the listener.

The conversation was never clear
And I wasn’t particularly interested
In knowing what was being said,
But I would still sit there.

I would sit at my 2nd story window
And look out at a town
Where nothing much happened
And know
That at least
I was not
Alone.

© Benjamin Green

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