Slow, thick and welcoming
like Winter’s dark camping syrup,
a man stepped out on the cold crosswalk
just as my light turned green.
He strolled care-free in front of my car,
puffing crystal fog across my right-of-way
— a signal of proud ease.
Safely seated outside his icy ghetto, I waited.
Noticing his tidy, warm attire, backpack-and-all,
I chuckled at the impatience haunting our moment
trying to crowd out this happiness.
My shoulders relaxed, enjoying his longer journey
in a harsher world as he playfully
boasted of his hard won dignity.
At the end of his crosswalk, our light still green,
before clearing my car and fading from my day,
he softly turned his head and with kind eyes,
full of joy, melted my windshield.
He smiled wider than the whole park behind him
and I could see his mouth offering me a final gift:
— by Sabio Lantz 11/12/10
Background: This poem was prompted by “Open Link Night” @ d’Verse Poets Pub, hosted by Joseph Hesch. Like many of you, driving is a significant part of my day – a time for thoughts, reverie and images. One of my offices is in a high-crime part of my city. My encounter with this fine man early last week still echoes in my mind and makes me smile. I am continually reminded of how our simple gestures, to complete strangers, can be a lasting gift.