FIRST TIME I SAW the neon orange blanket in the park
it appeared as a heap on a picnic table,
as if a teen,
walking home from a sleepover,
put her stuff down to use the swings,
I imagined she’d later
be asked by her mom,
“Where’s your stuff?”
and come back for it.
But as I drew closer
I imagined differently,
that it might be a human under the blanket,
sitting at the table, sleeping.
and having only recently (the last few years) accepted as fact
I no longer possess as superpowers
the ability to run or fend off attackers,
I gave the table a wide berth.
Next day, the orange blanket was there again. And the next.
On that 3rd morning
a police officer pulled in.
Standing at a distance,
partially obscured by a low-hanging tree branch,
I let my dog sniff the high grass near the park sign
a lot longer than usual
while I, like a nosy neighbor from a 50s TV show,
observed the officer carefully approaching,
assessing the lump and nudging it.
(I am not proud of this. Simply reporting the facts.)
It moved. Man or woman, I couldn’t tell.
I left the two of them chatting
and hurried my dog along.
I don’t know what happened afterwards
and almost forgot about the whole thing,
as I, like most people,
am happy to do
when it comes to issues I can’t fix,
I am not proud about this either.
except then last weekend,
someone mentioned having seen
in a park just east of here
a neon orange blanket in a heap on a table.
And then this morning it was back in my park.
I just don’t know my role here.
I want to know it.
I just don’t know it.
I doubt it’s just to snap a photo and blog about it.