Fall 2015, Volume 19

Poetry by Philip Nast

A Man of the Crowd

He almost waves to her but catches sight
of his lined face warped in the bowl of a spoon
and concedes the young woman at the far table
cannot be the one he knew when he lived here.

His life is haunted by time travelers.
In a crowd, he sometimes spots a gesture
that echoes a fond one or hears a voice
that shapes the features of a lost friend,

but if he follows in the bustle,
he overtakes only a simulacrum.
In clearheaded moments, he’s not sure
he would recognize the timeworn.

Nobody grows old once left behind.
The girl whose kisses he still recalls
sits unchanged on his motorcycle
in the shade of an oak.




Philip Nast taught middle school in Ohio. For twenty years, he has been a freelance writer for textbooks and education websites. He shares a farmhouse with his children and five cats.