An Identity

Tom had had a hard day, or it had him. He sat in the late sunlight with his apple, cheese, and tea, and shared in the blame for his hunger and fatigue. The day had been full of . . . of what? he wondered, while the sun moved the shadows of buildings over him— work and precious little play, dull boy, work, dull boy, and precious little play. Now the breeze and the shade made him and his hands cold, his back hurt from the bench, and these were the pleasures of being out in it. If the birds didn’t chirp for him, at least they chirped, and the who-who who of an owl especially delighted him, since it was as alone as he.

11 February 1981