Shafts of sunlight stream through a window

framed by white cotton cambric,

a luminous interlacing of light and shadows

cast a mortuary stillness on a lone figure

seated in an Edward Hopper painting.

He wonders how he got so old so fast?

If he didn’t know his actual age

how old would he think he was?

Seventeen, he was quite sure, that’s when

his dad’s Indian moccasins fit just fine

and girls were more than just good friends.

Nothing much has changed since then,

he always lent an ear to pals, kept right

on listening for years but was finally

trained to listen with the third ear.

He has already outlived his father who never

made it to his dream of roaming the country

in search of angling for game fish,

a Winnebago nomad’s quest for pristine lakes

and streams, hoping to pull up Wall-Eye Pike,

Pickerel and the most elusive Speckled Trout.

Father spent monotonous days sequestered

in a Wall Street cubby, tallying numbers

meticulously, counting days till his annual two

week reprieve. He was straight as rigid Colonel

Nicholson who couldn’t stop working on the bridge

on the river Kwai.

Refusing to cook the books, he went sliding down

the corporate ladder eviscerating his retirement

pension fund. He was left standing in his underwear

still proud that his name meant honest.

With red hair, freckles and flaming psoriatic

patches he looked more like a Native American

than an assimilated Jewish C.P.A.

He was no Shoshone but might as well

have taken their oath:

“The earth sees me.” “The Sun sees me.” “Shall I lie?”

M.P. Ehrlich