The Traveler

On the street where my parents live
You can still walk between two houses like
When we were young and easily entertained
Our arms stretched wide as we grazed
Our fingertips across the layers of paint,
Chips falling in our thoughtless wake
Slowing before the sunlight exposed our
Crouching down to spy on the house
With the bright orange shutters where
The guy who talked into tin cans with
Long white strings dangling unconnected
Said he listened to aliens about space travel
He would slip the end of the string into one
Of the four grey boxes attached to his house,
While people out for a friendly stroll tried not to listen,
Appearing slightly afraid of his earnest belief that he
Heard transmissions from aliens who were traveling
Across the dimensions of time and space
Speaking with experience of his own time travel
He would point to the dilapidated tan pickup
With the makeshift camper made of old canvas tents
The first few times we giggled at his truth and its
Obvious crazy appeal as complete nonsense
And now 20 years later his crazy should be sad
Except that no one ever saw or heard him leave
In the truck with the broken muffler, and the police
Who kept getting complaints about the long grass
Came to break down his front door, thinking they’d
Find him dead, but found everything untouched
Including his wallet and the keys to that old tan truck

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