On Center Street

He sits on a straight-backed chair
a little down the street from
the bait shop. He sits
relaxed, wearing his straw hat because
it’s summer and he always wears the straw hat
in summer.

He wears a plaid shirt and soft faded jeans,
as comfortable as though he were
sitting outside the general store
in the small Mississippi town
he grew up in sixty years ago,
somebody’s grandfather,
nodding and how do ing
everyone who walks by.

—Phyllis Wax, Milwaukee