A Song for Simeon

Brandon Zimmerman

Lord, the cold is creeping in the narrow alleyways
making barren and inhospitable the old refuges
I feel it in my bones—this may be my last winter
Long have I shuffled through these broken streets
and seen my face reflected in shards of shattered glass
I have seen tree-lined neighborhoods decline,
then prosper again, with flowers blooming,
only to fall once more into boarded windows,
dirty needles, and dry, shadeless trees
I have seen the fulfillment of the promises
of three generations of politicians
in the newspaper rags I have burnt
in barrels to warm my shaking hands
Cities know seasons no less than people
A winter surely follows every summer
and a spring every winter, though
sometimes the thaw comes too late
Time has purified my desires and exorcized my ambition
To see children playing in the park is the only food I need
To watch the waves swill in the bay is sufficient company
Each day's joy is sufficient unto itself
Every fallen, crumpled leaf is an urgent premonition
So strange, that I may not see this shade of red again
So strange, one morning the Lord may not wake me up
Eighty three winters, but only eighty two springs
Every yesterday heralds a tomorrow
Every dusk foretells a dawn
Every dream promises a waking
but maybe not this time
maybe not this time
when the cold is creeping
and the darkness settling
and a man long old
      goes to his rest