On a frosty April morning barely a tendril

of crocus peeps through thawing earth,

a lone figure sits on his favorite park bench.

His fish eyed view reflects thinking blurred

by crackle and static he cannot control,

like remembering classmates at  P.S. 153, but

forgetting who are family members, calling them

“Buster,” or “Pussycat,” based on gender.

Since losing his license driving the wrong

way on the New Jersey Turnpike, he takes

long walks and can’t find his way back, smiling

blankly with stories he repeats, wondering

what all the fuss is about, and why everyone

looks so chagrined.


He wonders where the children have gone,

swings are motionless and seesaws stilled,

empty slides and monkey-bars, sandbox void

of kids, just a few ants trudging back and forth

delivering tiny litter.


He listens for an echo of the laughter of toddlers

imploring: “push me higher, up to the sky!”

He longs to hear silly giggles, kids dizzily

whirling round doing summersaults, handsprings,

playing hide and seek, and catch me if you can.

There’s no one left to hunt for turtles, frogs

and salamanders, toss horseshoes, play croquet

or badminton and  while away long afternoons

playing monopoly drunk on lemonade

and knock- knock jokes.


Losing track of the time since he left his watch

in the fridge, he heads for home with a compass

gone awry in search of familiar signposts he’s

unable to find, forgetting he has to pee,

he mindlessly lets go and wets himself.

Sitting on a curb crying like a lost child

he waits for somebody to find him.


Milton P. Ehrlich 199 Christie St. Leonia, N.J. 07605.