The man who stands at the corner
holding the Homeless, Please Help sign
is different. Even if he is the same guy,
today he is lifting one foot to the other
though it really isn’t that cold.
The traffic moves, so you forget
until later at your desk when you hear
a bang so thunderous it shakes your house.
You open blinds to look out all four sides
but no one is crashing into anything anywhere.
You don’t see anyone at all, so you think
of that episode of The Twilight Zone
where the man is the only soul left on earth,
and it isn’t until the next day when you see
the lumber dumped in your neighbor’s yard
that you figure it was the unloading.
What they’ll be building remains to be seen,
because you don’t want to stand in the street
counting beams and trusses, and there is nothing
you can do anyway. The homeless guy and the lumber
and the journals you’ve been meaning to burn
are each still out there. The night you dream
of walking on a roof high above your current city,
you wake holding the word communion
in your mouth. Its flavor lingers as you slice the fruit.
You pack lunches as it dissolves, pressed
like a wafer against your tongue.
Editor’s Note: The speaker in this poem feels like all of us, on a random day, where you know you can’t do much, though you yearn to do more, and yet, by the end of the poem, forgiveness feels possible.
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