The Old Man
by Tyler Brown
In his old age the old man rode a bright pink women’s bicycle
with a forty-five-pound capacity cargo rack strapped to the back.
Between his trips to the hardware store, pharmacy, and grocery
you would think he knew how to drive.
The family tells him again to slow down, take it easy
—the same family that replaced his bicycle when it was stolen
from the bike rack in front of the Walmart
where thieves left the severed bike lock as a calling card.
He pretends the old ladies all over town aren’t flirting with him
when his family is nearby
because although he geographically gets around, he is faithfully married
to his wife of fifty-seven years. She is depressingly frail
and medically unable to maintain the same lifestyle he does,
like a slow watch with a dying battery.
He ensures she eats dinner and takes her plethora of pills
every night before bed.
Then, he watches CNN and Sports Center from the living room couch
until his eyelids force themselves shut and the remote slips from his hands.
By midnight, the television is watching him.
after Marie Howe