Late Bourgeois World

Late Bourgeois World
Frederick Pollack

At some point, those of a certain age
among the early diners
at the Thai place, matrons
who made a day of it
at the jeweler’s, wranglers
of cellphones and children wanted

gentleness. You see it in
the almost-smile, the aura as
they approach. They would turn brittle
if addressed, feral
if you made any claim on them;
but, passing and being passed,

they send imaginary tendrils
towards you, know you
more than by sight from checkout lines,
layer the shaded street
with a Mozartean or early-Dylan
regret. They are like angels,

fallen but not entirely
from heaven, trying
to work their way back, the effort
distinct from their professional ones.
The peace of the flowerbed
on the divider is peace, the produce

at Whole Foods waxed and full, the liberal
as opposed to redneck SUVs
friendly magical beasts
sunning themselves. And the secret master,
a spook who kills at distances,
mild in weekend casuals,

is a plausible god, walking his poodle time.

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