The Department of Transportation sidewalk study ranked my neighborhood
15 points above average. A 24% linger factor.
My neighborhood would score even higher
if the DOT surveyed at night
when youth appear in clinamen lines.
The study found this: People who linger are
talking to other people, or buying sandwiches,
browsing heirloom tomatoes, playing cello,
waiting for the bus, watching an opera
singer, giving directions to other people, exercising,
brushing someone’s hair out of their eyes,
stretching in the warm 21st century weather,
showing signs of intoxication such as slurred speech or unfocused eyes,
doing street upkeep like gardening or sweeping,
asking for money or food,
stopping, to take a cellphone picture of jets descending.
If you believe the local columnist, neighborhoods like mine,
where there’s evidence of Dvorak’s cello harmonics,
39% of people who linger are reclining,
sitting on benches, for example, or leaning against a wall.
That’s what we were doing.
11% of people lingering are reclining on infrastructure not intended for reclining, which
indicates need for more infrastructure.
I was leaning on a wall talking to you. Waiting for the bus. Eyes unfocused.
Brushing your hair away from your face.
The linger factor was high.
Josh Feit’s poems have been published in Spillway, CircleShow, Bee House, and The Halcyone Literary Review, among other journals. Feit was a finalist for the 2019 Lily Poetry Prize. He is the speechwriter for the Puget Sound’s regional transit agency.
This poem was published in Vallum issue 18:1, Invisibility. Available to purchase through our website.