Donald Justice

(12 August 1925 - 6 August 2004 / Miami / Florida)

The Tourist from Syracuse


One of those men who can be a car salesman or a tourist from Syracuse or a hired assassin.
-- John D. MacDonald


You would not recognize me.
Mine is the face which blooms in
The dank mirrors of washrooms
As you grope for the light switch.

My eyes have the expression
Of the cold eyes of statues
Watching their pigeons return
From the feed you have scattered,

And I stand on my corner
With the same marble patience.
If I move at all, it is
At the same pace precisely

As the shade of the awning
Under which I stand waiting
And with whose blackness it seems
I am already blended.

I speak seldom, and always
In a murmur as quiet
As that of crowds which surround
The victims of accidents.

Shall I confess who I am?
My name is all names, or none.
I am the used-car salesman,
The tourist from Syracuse,

The hired assassin, waiting.
I will stand here forever
Like one who has missed his bus --
Familiar, anonymous --

On my usual corner,
The corner at which you turn
To approach that place where now
You must not hope to arrive.

Submitted: Friday, January 03, 2003

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