Mr. Sixty-Something

Mr. 60-something, sitting across from me
With your Eisenhower book and black-and-white photos
As you mumble to yourself about a time past
In San Jose, waving dismissively at something you heard
A conversation lively in your mind, in constant replay and response

We are locked outside of your world, Robbed of the film that plays for you
The grunts and hmphs, the inexplicable nodding that seems out of context
And you explain, and explain again, pointing and directing
The coffee people take your order and for a moment, it’s called lucid.

Back to your seat, to the conversation that’s repeating, and going nowhere but still there.
The today people are standing in line, carefully calculating their order
Maybe they try not to stare or purposely take their gaze elsewhere

It’s odd that Mr. Sixty-Something has a finely pressed button-down shirt
Khaki pants, neat belt and decent shoes
But he mutters, gesturing to no one

Are you an estranged grandfather?
An uncle in the war?
A brother they couldn’t handle, a father with no stories?

Mister, where is your world?
Where in your mind do you go, when you would rather not be here?

He turns the page of his Eisenhower book
Taking a photo, as if to broadcast and preserve.
And returns to his conversation: nodding, directing, emphatic about his point.
Lively toward the someone in his mind
To no one in the room
Suddenly, I realize
I’m jealous.

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