Julianne Palumbo, Like Old Men in Musty Grey Overcoats

Julianne Palumbo
LIKE OLD MEN IN MUSTY GREY OVERCOATS

they shuffle across the road
in front of me.

But, when they reach
the snow-covered curb, they stop,

as if it isn’t what they expected,
as if it isn’t what they want it to be.

Now, they turn around and cross back over,
their double chins flapping,

their coats flittering,
their cataracts staring.

Who cares they came from snowy woods,
down a bank as deep as this one.

One geezer stands center, like a crossing guard,
flailing his wings and craning his neck

and honking at any car
that dares to move.

They try again,
But each time their skinny legs meet the snow,

they turn around, squawking about the way things were,
about the way things still should be.

Author’s Comment: I was driving on a back road near my home in Rhode Island when a small rafter of turkeys crossed in front of me. It was a winter day, and there was much snow on the ground. The turkeys had come through the snowy woods on one side of the road but appeared bewildered and angry when they tried to climb the snowy curb on the other. One turkey stood in the road, stopping the cars until the rest had made it over the curb. I sat for quite a few minutes feeling thankful for this skit from nature.

Bio: A writer of short stories, poetry, and young adult novels, Julianne Palumbo’s poetry and short stories have been published in The MacGuffin, The Listening Eye, Poetry East (forthcoming), Ibbetson Street Press, and others. Her poetry chapbook, Into Your Light, was recently released by Flutter Press.

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