Charles Simic (May 09, 1938 -)
This peaceful world of ours is ready for destruction—
And still the sun shines, the sparrows come
Each morning to the bakery for crumbs.
Next door, two men deliver a bed for a pair of newlyweds
And stop to admire a bicycle chained to a parking meter.
Its owner is making lunch for his ailing grandmother.
He heats the soup and serves it to her in a bowl.
The windows are open, there’s a warm breeze.
The young trees on our street are delirious to have leaves.
Italian opera is on the radio, the volume too high.
*Brevi e tristi giorni visse*, a baritone sings.
Everyone up and down our block can hear him.
Something about the days that remain for us to enjoy
Being few and sad. Not today, Maestro Verdi!
At the hairdresser’s a girl leaps out of a chair,
Her blond hair bouncing off her bare shoulders
As she runs out the door in her high heels.
“I must be off,” says the handsome boy to his grandmother.
His bicycle is where he left it.
He rides it casually through the heavy traffic
His white shirttails fluttering behind him
Long after everyone else has come to a sudden stop.