Ann Arbor, MI
Saturday morning: on the brick plaza
at the corner of Fourth and Catherine,
amid the strollers and shopping bags,
the coffee and the canopied table talk,
a man in a tie-dyed African shirt
sways to the music of his marimba.
The music billows down his sleeves
and ripples through his muscular arms,
the notes rebounding from the mallets
and spilling like marbles onto the street.
One hops over to a couple on a bench,
another to a runner stretching her legs.
One skips through the skateboard wheels
of a teen streaking by, shirttails flapping,
then bounces over and stops at my feet.
What’s up? it seems to say. I follow
its path back to the African guy jiving
to his own groove by the stop sign.
Some people stop. A woman returning
from the farmer’s market plunks
her bags down on a wooden bench.
A man lowers his newspaper, looking
over it with furrowed brows that begin
to relax, and a girl with a smoothie
unplugs her ears with her free hand.
When he’s played his set, the musician
snaps the rubber band off his hair,
shakes out his dreads, and wipes
the sweat from his face. He nods
to the cheering rows of some imagined
auditorium as the house lights return.
Yeah, he says smiling. That’s right, yeah.
Nausheen Eusuf is finishing up a PhD in English at Boston University. Her poetry has appeared in Best American Poetry, World Literature Today, PN Review, and online at The London Magazine and The Guardian.