…a little after 10 pm

How helpless I felt
seeing him coming
in my direction

the old brick
sidewalk 
lay smooth

yet his feet
could not 
unstumble
as he swayed 
side to side

navigating 
a sea of bricks
as an ocean

his clothes were 
not tattered
nor ill-fitting

perhaps his
baseball cap
was slightly
sweat stained
a little dirtied
by wear

so had he
been walking
straight as an arrow 
an exchanging of 
two strangers hello
may have been all 
of that moment

yet there it was
silence
heavy hanged
helplessness 
and pity

I didn’t want to
feel that way
didn’t want to
shrink back 
but what
could I do

he wasn’t
even aware I was
so near
not in his
incapacitated state

he was just walking 
tipping scales 
trying to balance

holding his white plastic
grocery bag
full of take-out 
and the other side 
Just his empty hand

his running shoes
struggled to hold a 
sure footing

I watched him
A few more seconds

his khakis were soaked 
a large circle 
wet grey material
In contrast
to the dry beige
in the front 
by the zipper

perhaps he spilled
a drink
although my mind
told me otherwise

And so my heart
hurt for this
stranger
hurt for him
in that moment

clearly coping 
Not living 
lost in a strong addiction
to escape his reality

I wanted to do
something
Yet my mind screamed 
“What can you!”

I watched his back 
walking away 
stumbling towards
somewhere 
over there
across the park
on the other side 
of the dark…

I was as helpless
as he
stumbling
in my heart
unable to escape 
my inability to 
help

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3 thoughts on “…a little after 10 pm

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