Morning Sketch, a poem by Ken McKeon

Grace never entered his mind as he stumbled down
The early morning waking ways of this brightening town.
Dogs came to his mind as they cozied up in their fur
And somehow dealt with the cold pavement on their bellies
As their masters stood in a long line of folks hankering
For hot coffee and perhaps a tasty morning roll,
As did a wonderfully orderly and casual armed guard
As he paced out easy steps in front of the Bank of America,
And he an impromptu doorman as well as guard, doorman
In dark glasses, doorman with a greeting and a smile,
And gentle and certain as this day’s sunlight as he pressed the wall
Mounted pad to open the door for those halting anxious folks
Who couldn’t quite do that easily or at all as they struggled
To begin their day with what must be needed transactions at the bank,
And Nina came to his ears and mind as she called out his name
From her shop’s door- opened thirty minutes late but opened now-
And she said she was ready to cut his hair, though he had but little,
Being mostly bald, and trim his beard which in fact was sort of a shaggy growth
That in a month’s time had grown to nearly hide his mouth,
Making eating anything at all a sort of messy operation, but Nina
Could clear that up, and tell of her sensible ways and nifty joys as she did,
And that was good for within the telling laughter played a part,
And with the laughter eyes opened out into a happy warmth,
And this as the hours which just were headed off into the hours
Which were to come, and the day opened, and the benches filled,
And soon there would be hot pizza taken from tall ovens,
And a trio or quartet would set up and begin to play, and a few
Pan handlers would take their positions and begin to ask for spare
Change and sometimes dollar bills would slide across to their hands,
And these surprises, rare and unexpected, do arise to lift our
Waking eyes up, happenings all morning time, noontime, and afternoon time too.
—Ken McKeon

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