The Old Man On My Porch

sharon williamson artist

I’m haunted by an old man
Every night

I go out on my porch
To get firewood

And he’s there

I carry an old breezeway rug
The wife has sewed handles to

I lay it out next to the ricks of wood
Wearing just my robe to brave the cold heart of winter

I stack a bundle of hickory in the middle, pick up the handles
And hoist the load to go back inside

I’m only out there a few seconds
But he’s always with me

That ghost of an old man

I read about him in our local paper
Many years ago

Just like me, the old man had gone out onto his porch
In the dead of winter, on the coldest night
For an arm’s full of firewood

The door had locked behind him and he had no key
He lived alone, out in the country

He thought he was going to be out there a few seconds

I always imagine him wearing less than me

If I’m in my robe
Then he is wearing a T-shirt

I read about the old man dying like that
Many years ago

But I continue to think of him
Especially on the coldest nights

I go out to get more wood
And he is there

Locked out

It’s like he paused mid-sentence
To go do something quick

But didn’t come back
To finish what he was going to say


Previously published in
A Swineherd’s Journal

Art by Sharron Williamson


1 thought on “The Old Man On My Porch”

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