Paddington Park

(Published in Viewless Wings online poetry magazine)

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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