Lost on the corner of Market and Broad

He stands on the corner of Market and Broad
graying hair and beard neatly combed,
back pack at his feet on the sidewalk.
Looks like a professor, or accountant,
casual corduroy pants, gray sweater
over white shirt.  But he’s calling out
as we pass him in a deep hollow voice,
“Lost—my job, my apartment.  Any
help will be gratefully accepted.“

He goes silent for a moment as we round
the corner away from him, then lifts
his voice again, almost a bellow echoing
upward among the tall stone buildings. 
 “Lost—my job, my apartment….”  The buses
and cars of morning rush hour rumble by.

Before entering the breakfast café, we
passed him as he launched his plea.
Now, our bellies full, you stop, tears
blurring your eyes, pull your wallet
from your coat pocket.  “I don’t have any
 five’s.”  “Neither do I, only 20’s;  it’s not
wrong to give him a 20, even if we think
he’s the kind who will drink it all up.”

You pivot back around the corner.
As you return to my sight, he follows—
“Thank you, thank you—what’s your name?”
You face, him,  “Jay.”  “I’m Wayne, I’ll
remember you in my prayers.”  Your eyes
are wet as we walk away.  I ask,
“Do you think  he was  surprised by the 20?”
“Enough,” you answer, to say “Oh my God!”
                                                3/14/2011

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