We’re sitting at an outdoor table

on the Broadway sidewalk watching

the rhythmic pause-and-go of traffic

through the Saratoga streets,

the hum and squeals of engines and brakes,

the hydraulic groan of the 473 bus as it unloads

its cargo of townsfolk and tourists,

their chatter filling the summer air

in the absence of birds.  A boy sits

at the bus stop with a silent guitar in hand,

ignored by those coming and going.

 

We watch people board the bus

as you sip your Bloody Mary,

savoring the olives in your mouth,

turning them over like words

you’d rather hear than speak.

 

The waitress brings our food

and sets it down like the silence

between us.  The small pink creatures

of your shrimp cocktail remind me

of the things I’ll fail to say––

laid out before us, untouched

and wholly intact yet

so obviously dead.

 

The boy still sits at the bus stop.

His guitar is still silent, its case

open at his feet like an empty wallet.

Passing pedestrians pay him no mind.

No one is giving me any money

he complains to no one in particular,

but he isn’t playing anything.

 

 by Ariel Francisco

 

Ariel Francisco was born in the Bronx, New York, though he’s lived in Florida for most of his life. He graduated from Florida International University in Miami with a B.A. in English Lit. He’s also studied creative writing at the New York State Summer Writers Institute at Skidmore College and film at Charles University in Prague. He currently resides in Miami, Florida.

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