He’s an old man now, but his loafers still impeccably polished,
trousers creased just so.
A fastidious man who pulls his legs up high like marching when he walks,
refusing to shuffle.
You would think he’s meeting friends for supper in the city but then
that loaf of day-old bread tucked underneath an arm gives him away.

It’s his evening pilgrimage to scatter scraps for fish and frogs
then offer prayers for a father never known, a mother left
to raise six children through the Great Depression.
He sits alone on the straight-backed bench at dusk,
his fingers playing like a pianist’s across the rosary.

Small time that’s left, he summons up that which he knows:
Tomatoes ripening on the vine teach patience.
Watching the Indian sunset in World War II was worth missing supper.
Alice loved him.