I see them gathering beneath the tree
on East Main Street, Xenia, Ohio.
August’s most blazing dog days
don’t keep them inside.
Their dark skin merges with shadow,
men in jeans and tee-shirts,
smoking and jawing like it’s 1951,
and things are still as simple as Schlitz,
Chevies and Slim Jims,
cut grass and fast women.
I fly by and wave, too shy to stop,
worried they’d crack on the honky’s
bike: an upright recumbent
with a pillow for his back.
But maybe they’d invite me
to share their shade and sip
a cold one from their cooler;
or a glass of someone’s grandma’s
Here in the new millennium,
I imagine them laughing into dusk,
lighting a fire to keep off the bugs,
passing a flask, nursing a Bud,
heading home at last until
only one remains: he who owns
that tree and borrows time
from tomorrow to stay a little later
and watch the first stars rise.
about the author
Recently retired from Sinclair Community College, Ed Davis spends his time writing, biking, hiking, reading and blogging on mostly literary topics in Yellow Springs. He’s currently working on a novel set in Appalachian Ohio. Please visit him at www.davised.com.