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As the day slowly closes, the old man listens to quiet chimes
And the notes sing to him tales of another time
Weathered hands tap a silent tune on his thigh
The lines on his face tell how he laughed, fought, and cried
I begin to wonder of his story
Did he have a love affair to match Shakespeare’s glory?
Was it too big for his young heart to hold?
Did they set sail to a faraway place or dance on a road paved gold?
Does he still have her scarf, her picture locked away in a drawer?
So when the nights are lonely, he can remember how he loved her so
Does her perfume mingle in the air, resonating bittersweet memories?
As he makes breakfast for two, with only one plate on the table
Did he fight a great war?
Earn medals and honors for his courage and strength.
The smell of blood sticks to his nostrils and stains his clean clothes
Does he still grip that rosary as if he was making his last requests?
Does he see the ghost of friends past?
Their tags hang on his heart and jingle a sad tune
Does he still weep with regret and guilt?
And thinks even then, he knew the brave die so soon
Was he a high school superstar?
Only to watch his dreams fade slowly in dust
To hate a town he was stuck in, a job he hates, a family he tolerates
Do those trophies and ribbons mock you in your old age sir?
Did he try to leave the hometown only to have his feet rooted in the asphalt?
Could he not choose a road and instead turned away and walked back?
Did the mediocrity drown his dreams and kill the passion he had left
Does he live in the past, and paint dead dreams on a ghost canvas
His head cocks up as he hears a trumpet sing in the distance
And he breathes deep as if the music can be absorbed through the air
Does he remember when his hard knees could dance through the night?
And he twirled and twirled and hoped to never stop spinning
Eventually he stops rocking and stares in the distance
What does he see in the slow setting sun?
Does he see foreign lands, a lost love, a dream faded?
He exhales like the final note of a song
I think he sees me, or maybe he knew it all along.