A Different Kind of Person

I encounter a woman from a long way off
Almost every morning when I walk my dog
In a certain park between certain hours
That have not changed the whole season long.
She owns several coats, all of them
The same length, yesterday a gray one;
Today deep red, and she smoothed her
Cheek as she went by. She sees me
At my worst, unshaven, in my sweats,
Bagging dog shit, my son’s skateboard cap
Pulled down to my eyebrows. Hers arch
When she says “Good morning” which is all
I have ever heard her speak with her accent
From somewhere between the Danube
And the Don, where I bet she modeled coats
In a capital city. How she got here or what
She does is none of my business, and I
Do not wish to say to her more than, “Good
Morning,” or ask, “How are you today?”
And spoil the peace we have found among
The ornamental trees native to our region.

Stuart Dischell is the author of several books of poetry. His poems have appeared in The New Republic, Ploughshares, and The Kenyon Review. He has received awards from the National Endowment for the Arts and the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation. He teaches Creative Writing at the University of North Carolina.
tags: Poetry   
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