Paddington Park Poem: Podcast Reading

Published on Viewless Wings

Paddington Park

We lived for a time in London’s Marylebone neighborhood

On Chiltern Street, a stone’s throw from Paddington Park

It rains most of the time in London regardless

of the time of year—my husband says this

is what he loves most about London

you appreciate when the sun

does come out

Our dog loved our walks

through Paddington Park probably

because of the other dogs he’d meet

A variety of roses grow robustly there, probably

because of the incessant rain and the city’s tending

Benches are dedicated to people who have passed away

who once declared this to be their beloved park, probably

because they took refuge there from rushing to work, rushing home

On one of our strolls through the park I noticed a heavyset man

slumped on one of the benches, his eyes closed

his body rumpled beneath a pressed shirt

I thought he was sleeping, perhaps he

had grown tired from walking

Then I realized

he had died

Two police officers

arriving at the same conclusion

tried to waken him—one left to seek help

the other sat next to the man as if they were friends

solidarity through gentle touching, shoulder to shoulder

a macabre camaraderie, the deceased unaware of the living presence

How lonely the man must have been when he chose to sit on that bench

I looked away and continued past the rose bushes and other benches

past a children’s play area, exited the park, strolled along

Marylebone High Street and stopped by a café

drank a cup of hot tea at an outside table

my dog patiently curled by my feet

thought of the man on the bench

How lonely death is

no matter the



an hour later,

I circled back through the park

and noticed the same police officer,

still seated by the dead man, eyeing the park entrance

for his partner to return. We both nodded, sucked our lips

into a half pout, as if we worked for the same miserable boss, no

idea when help would arrive. How lonely death is, no matter the weather

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