I saw him then, that look of dread
Though months before I thought him dead.
His gate unsure and out of sync,
A scrape of red across his head.

He stepped too close, I did not blink.
His breath was sweet from heavy drink.
And though he looked as if quite mad,
He was a gentle man, I think.

Two bills he knew I always had.
His needs were slight, his wants were sad.
Someone to see his soul was right;
Though rough and worn, he was not bad.

In church, he said, he’d be that night,
As if a debt were owed to rite.
He walked away, his thanks polite,
My guilt and conscience to indict.

Coyright Joseph E Bird, 2014