Observe This
Harold Bowes

Why do you always end up here

Just before dark?

A rectangular piece of paper,

heavy stock, maybe a water bill,

angled along the top of the bowl,

the bowl made of blue glass,

like a miniature swimming pool,

folded sky,

filled with salt

Watching people

Walk from their car into Denny's

Or from the restaurant to their car
Summer sky,

Pigeon unfolding like a rag first balled up then thrown:

Climb the stairs to the very top

of the water slide.

It's not people watching

The way watching from a sidewalk cafe

Or coffee shop is

Not so much because the Denny's customers are less attractive, less young

Though they tend to be

More because we know their origin

And their destination

Summer bather,

belly as flat as spring leaf,

skims the water's surface,

the pattern like the pattern

of the leaf's perimeter.

There is no mystery about them

And clearly their purpose is small

And their lives mean

As the sun goes below the horizon

The light in the sky intensifies, turns as white as milk

Brighter than midday

In her sunglasses small image

of a flag, waving

The clouds fading into that background as though camouflaged

Ice cubes in milk

Their top edge just above the surface