Barry North

Every evening at 5:30
I do what I’ve dreamed of doing for years.
I leave my past behind and start anew,
even though it is not exactly the way I imagined it.
I have not moved to a scenic little burg in Mississippi.
I am not living above the only bar in town.
The feisty little redhead pushing drinks down below,
her ass twitching like an invitation
everybody in the joint thinks is addressed to him,
is not enthralled with the aura of mystery surrounding me.
Her ten year old son has not taken to calling me dad.
I am not sailing novels out of my window, like paper airplanes,
which land, more often than not, on
The New York Times Bestseller List.
(Although, I must admit, my old dreams
have been hanging around lately,
looking like long departed relatives,
Somebody up there breathed life back into.)
When I see the mayor he does not, in deference,
tip his hat to me.
This is because I did not,
while everyone looked on,
pull his useless alcoholic son out of his brand new Mustang,
which was slowly sinking to the bottom
of that thirty-foot deep canal directly across from the bar.
 
Indeed, if the truth must be told,
I am no hero at all.
 
In fact, I have never done
a single heroic deed worth mentioning.
But when I cross that threshold at suppertime,
I swear I grow a foot.
To the beat up, worn out residents in their wheelchairs,
I am more powerful than a locomotive.
They would not be surprised to learn that yesterday
I leapt a tall building in a single bound.
I wheel them in and out of the dining room.
I smile;
I hold their hands;
I stroke their faces;
I listen to their gibberish.
The small kindnesses I offer they accept,
like enormous checks written out in their names,
which they cash and give me the money.