that shade of a man entering the
room, taking a folding chair across
from me, his history under his scarred
bare feet, a lifetime under the bridge
in the stains on what remains of his
tattered thrift-store shirt. his universe
is so narrow and so vast, the stars sleep
over him, the mud of last night’s rain
blankets him. should i approach and
ask when he ate last? fear gets the best
of me, i tell myself he is o.k with
free coffee and oreos the snack person
brought, but i’m ashamed. i walk over
and hand him a dollar. he has a cataract
in one eye, his hands shake, he smiles,
he is missing his two front teeth.
i see my own reflection in his face,
my mistakes, what could have been
if... yet this man does not walk heavy
as if the weight of the world
straddled his hunched shoulders.
no, he eases into this room full
of people who have hit their bottom.
he neither strides nor hobbles,
he floats in. the expression on his
face does not say desperate or insane,
it says peace and surrender. it says
the ineffable willingness to be helped.
is a lawyer whose poems have appeared in Prometheus Dreaming, Gyroscope, Tofu Ink, KAIROS Lit. Journal, K’in, Grand Little Things, Society of Classical Poets, Cagibi, Seventh Circle, Poetica, Chained Muse, Garfield Lake Review, Tempered Runes Press, Abstract Elephant, and others. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.