The Man Asleep in the Corner Over There
by William C. Blome


The man asleep in the corner over there
dreams of apples with long arms and legs
playing, swimming and treading water
in the yellow-bottom pool he gazes down upon
from his balcony way, way overhead.

                                                                    He watches
one apple fire itself downward in deep water,
another do lazy breaststrokes back and forth
across the short length of the pool,
a third tug on her swimsuit till it fits a whole lot better,
and a fourth (perhaps an adolescent girl)
jump up and down and kick about
till water froths and bubbles in her wake.

                                                                    But it's
this elder with a hoe for a walking stick,
this elder in avocado gabardine trousers
and a black straw hat, ambling around
the perimeter of the pool, who gradually knocks
the apples from the sleeper's dream.
That done, the elder passes through an iron gate
to a taco stand and places an order for a beef burrito.
Before his number can be called--as he suns himself
against the wall, waiting--he daydreams about
afternoon receptions nude in the Nicaraguan embassy,
and more than one triceratops
stomping amok in his leafy green garden.

                                                                    But once
his number's called and he clutches a bagged burrito
in his non-hoe hand, the elder's daydreams
evaporate in the care and concentration it takes
for him to walk home safely.

                                                                    But the man asleep
in the corner over there gets no respite from
the swimming, bobbing apples he's locked onto
once again frolicking in the pool below his balcony,
and though the key to the sliding door he locked
behind him hours earlier rubs gently in his pocket,
he feels it's still too goddamn early
to go inside and husk some corn, to go inside
and chop some meat, to go inside and fix a supper.


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