The bench wants society.
Stop! it says. Sit! —
watch your species ignoring you and me!
They rush by but we are the busy ones,
Soon another will come, stop, sit,
and society will happen.
Maybe a toddler, ooph-ing his way up,
will sit like an L,
revel in his new perspective,
then scramble away,
pollinator to his kind.
Then soon another, on the three legs of late life,
will ease down, lean back,
and toss some memories to you, hungry pigeon.
Maybe next a new parent,
hoarding that immense softness,
sparing a few hushed words.
By and by, maybe two, holding hands, cozy in,
nudging you to other times, other benches
where you stopped,
and you can’t help a small private smile.
Maybe someone who talks a waterfall
crashing down on you in atomic white foam,
like some relatives you’ve run from.
Then even the bench cringes but holds fast
for the sake of the human soul.
Ignore a bench at your peril:
society must be had.
I can’t help noting, dear reader, that I picture people aware of each other
whereas the reality is people are snookered into their phones
and have no idea you are on the bench with them.
I prefer my version.
More thanks to photographer S.W. Berg,
and to Wells Theater, Norfolk, VA.