Wednesday, October 3, 2007

St. College and Chapman

He looks about my age.
Shave an inch off my gut
and put it on my head
and he could be my height.
He's been living on the corner
I inhabit during my lunch breaks,
bumming change in front of
the Chinese food place
and spending it on small coffees
at the collegetown Starbucks.
He's been trying to sell a CD player
in front of the 99 Cent Store.
For five days, he told me,
he's been living on the corner.
Churches won't help him.
The donut lady's scraps
are too good for him.
The Goodwill gathers up
their donations
before he can sift through them.
He's quickly become exiled
from the very corner
he now calls home,
from the very corner
where I pass away my lunch breaks.

I've been watching him.
I gave him some change,
but not enough to really
make any.
Just like me,
he sips a morning coffee,
double-takes at girls,
and tries to look busy enough
not to look helpless.
We dwell on the same corner
and frequent the same stores
but we're a world apart,
like moons in orbit
on opposite sides
of the same planet.
I've been learning from him,
in case a pink slip
alters my course to his.
I hope it goes
the other way around first,
that he finds a place to clean
the underside of his fingernails
so he can pass the day biting them
behind some computer.
Maybe when I see him tomorrow
we can talk over our cups of coffee.

We already have enough in common.

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