One for the Jazzman by Scott Silsbe

I haven’t seen the Jazzman for about a week and a half.
Last time I saw him, he said that he had to take some
time off—maybe a few days or a week, he wasn’t sure.
I didn’t know if it was health-related, but didn’t ask him.
Honestly, I don’t really know the Jazzman all that well.
There were a few weeks there where he was assigned to
pick up our mail on his route. Those were good weeks.
He always seemed so happy to see us when we would
unbolt and push open the front door of the warehouse.
“Hello, young man!” he’d say, “How’s it going today?”
And while he helped us load our hods into his truck,
he’d hum a meandering line that sounded exactly like
a jazz standard that I didn’t know. Sometimes he would
add these “doot-doo-doot-doo-doot” kind of flourishes.
He’d ask if we needed more hods, offer to bring some
the next time we saw him. “Alright, gentlemen—you all
have a fine day,” he’d say before we’d close the door.
And I’d go about the rest of my workday, just that brief
encounter with him having made my day a little better,
a sunny respite from the drudgery of whatever it is I do.
I wonder where he’s been. I hope that he’s doing okay.
I bet that he doesn’t even know what he meant to me.

Scott Silsbe was born in Detroit. He now lives in Pittsburgh, where he writes, makes music, and works as a bookseller. His poems have appeared in numerous periodicals including Lilliput Review, Nerve Cowboy, and Chiron Review. He is the author of Unattended Fire (Six Gallery Press, 2012), The River Underneath the City (Low Ghost Press, 2013), and the forthcoming collection Muskrat Friday Dinner (White Gorilla Press, 2017).

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