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His Work In This World: American Fairy Tale

As we punch our alarms, brush our teeth, hurrying,
the old man takes his seat in front of a rusty green trailer on Route 24.
Five days I’ve seen him now, parked on his kitchen chair
at the side of the road, waving to the cars that pass.
He is the main character in this American Fairy Tale,
set exactly here to dispense  Safe Travels,
Comfortable Dinners and Sleep Full Of Magical Dreams
to all who wave back.
Don’t wave and there’s trouble ahead—a fender-bender, a burnt roast,
a sleepless night.

Almost no one, of course, ever figures this out.
I wouldn’t have either,
except I stopped my car today,
thinking I was Lost,
and so learned the twist in this tale.

Here, in his story, no horses, no forests,
no travelers who’ve missed their path,
nor displaced royalty searching for
Dragons
Treasure
or Magical Birds
Or at least
none wise or lucky enough to stop their car
and ask directions from an old man.

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