Sit, he says,

on this bench beside me.

It’s been months.

I thought he might be dead.

He’s the kind of person whose

death would go unnoticed.

He smells of liquor, I think.

Maybe I’m wrong.

How are you?

Not very good.

He’s never very good.

He’s had a hard life.

This much is true.

Brought on by

his own poor decisions?



A couple of dollars

is all he needs,

all he ever asks for.

Sometimes I give more.

He’s got to get out of his apartment.

It’s his third one since I’ve known him.

Always looking for a better place.

A better life.

He is ragged, blood-shot eyes

As he wanders the streets.

I’ll see him at church.

He says he wants to go more.

It’s just hard, you know.

Got to catch a bus.

Too cold, too hot, too far.

He’s always bedraggled,

Always tired,

Always worn out.

But he keeps going.


In his shoes, I would fail.

But he doesn’t.

He keeps going.

How much better is my life.

How much more I have.

How easy I have it.

I hand him three dollars.

He thanks me.

Promises to try to get to church.

Thanks me again.

And he goes.

copyright 2015, Joseph E Bird