On a street crew near the park,
around thirty, I would guess,
the usual jeans, boots, sleeveless
tee with yellow safety vest,
trucker’s cap with mesh sides.
Browned from working in the sun,
good-looking, shades, flashing a grin,
he’s leaning forward, hands on knees,
watching a coworker clear a line.
He’s spreading fertilizer on a lawn
underneath an enormous hat,
in neutral-colored chambray shirt,
faded jeans and boots; from behind,
I would have guessed that he was middle-aged.
But when he turns, I see he’s young,
Latino, handsome, shirt halfway open.
Shaved head, a beard, straight-up posture,
black V-neck tee and camo shorts,
black trainers and low white socks,
exits house, walks toward van;
he’s in construction or repair—
he’s the type who builds and fixes.
Two shirtless skaters in just shorts and sneakers,
coasting downhill on Yale from Admiral,
clutching fast-food bags in hand.
The first one’s kind of hot: dark hair,
lightly tanned skin, lean and muscular,
at ease in the world; his friend is skinny
and pale, a bit self-conscious, a follower.
Walking along First Street
he’s short with a compact frame,
dirty-blond curls, glasses;
wearing a graphic T-shirt,
ripped dark jeans cut off mid-calf,
neon green band on left wrist,
right hand cradling the phone,
into the conversation,
navigating on auto-pilot.
T. Allen Culpepper