By Micheal Chitwood
Featured Art: Main Street, Montreal by Louis Wiesenberg
That his old Impala still ran
was a miracle. The blue puff of exhaust
and the way the engine rattled on
for a minute or two when he turned off the ignition.
A miracle. He shaved maybe once a week.
And his clothes. The wrinkles and stains
held them together.
But he came to the diner every Tuesday.
Where he got money no one knew.
He would nurse his black coffee
and have a piece of pie.
He wanted to talk about God,
mostly to the county deputies having lunch,
who talked to him as a way of keeping an eye on him.
“God’s grandeur is in his silence,” he told them.
“And the silence is immense and not all that quiet.”
He looked into the bowl of a spoon
as if he was looking into a river.
The deputies joshed with him.
They told the waitresses he was harmless
if a bit ripe.
There was plenty of coffee.
Sometimes a waitress would give him another wedge of pie,
cold lemon, warm apple with a dollop of whipped cream.
The deputies paid, winked, and left.
The leather of their holsters squeaked.
Outside, the afternoon filled the sky.
Michael Chitwood’s most recent book is Living Wages (Tupelo Press). His work has appeared in The Atlantic, Poetry, Threepenny Review, The New Republic, and numerous other journals.
Originally published in Issue 19.