The English Gentleman

The old English gentleman
is dying, on a comfortable cushion
he choose earlier in the day
to lay out in the sun
after eating a noon time meal
without gorging eating little and slowly
Then with eyes mostly closed
clambered up the woven chair to the table
then crawled on the cushion
to the spot warmed by the sun
and I went out to see him
and his eyes were closed
his breathing was regular but shallow
he turned towards me,
or the sound of my voice
and raised his head,
his blue/grey coat scruffy
unkempt, ungroomed
He has been coming around for a few weeks
eating at the community table
and finding a place to sleep on some blankets
put out for cold old men in this winter
he got along well enough
with the other visitors
sitting at this desk looking out on the porch
at the level of the cushioned the table
I hear a small restrained cry
and a long exhale
hesitating at first, I go outside to see him
as his breathing stops the cushion begins to cool

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