On the Street
“Hey mister, you have something for me”?
Flat words emerge in the late autumn dusk from the
hollow where her heart had been before it froze to death.
Face full of life’s dings, her blank eyes expose deep pools
in which swim vile serpentine figures of her past.
Her upturned hand is mummified in a shroud scented with coffee, smoke and pee.
Around us, the annual migration of leaves from their roosts has begun.
Through their swirl on the streetscape, amber post-modernist splotches,
I perceive a troubled daughter; perhaps a failed but still loving mother.
She often prays for her untimely release from unmerited purgatory,
even as she thrashes about in her struggle to survive.
A man wearing my clothes, nausea etched on his face,
is already moving past the unwelcome intrusion on his ordered world.
I bid the man to stop.
He does; takes out some bills, lays them gently on her palm, smiles as he feels her rejoin the living and wishes her a good day;
his world less tidy but his walk a bit taller and he a bit wiser.