The Old Orphan

           for Andrew Periale

The sparrows in the gutter knew you
And hopped out of your way.
The trash being blown about
By the wind gusting did as well.

A few scenes from your life
Were about to be performed
By a puppet theater in the park,
When it started to rain hard,

Making the great trees panic
Along with mothers and children,
Who ran shrieking for cover
Wherever they could find it,

Except for you, already seated
In a long row of empty chairs,
Waiting for your angry stepfather
To step out from behind a curtain.

Copyright © 2019 Charles Simic. Used with permission of the author. This poem originally appeared in The Southern Review, Winter 2019.