Image “Somewhere in Between” by Anne Worner CC BY-SA 2.0.
He sits on the Post Office steps
His clothes wrapped tightly around
A frame that now days feels the cold.
He appears as the workday begins and takes his position
Doesn’t bother anyone just watches
The world go by, same as it’s always done.
Regulars nod to him as they pass
A boy from the support unit delivers him a coffee
Asks no payment despite the man’s offer
A ritual they both respect.
The boy looks into his eyes
Struggles to find words that don’t
Tie his vocal cords in knots
‘H…ave a g…od day,’ he mutters
As he hurries off into his world.
The man sips and observes,
Aware that if you come too close
His smell is overwhelming.
Washing is not so easy
He is embarrassed by the invisible circle
The bathhouse is closed
The nearest one is a train trip,
That means people, that means ridicule,
He suffers the indignity of solitude.
A small girl approaches
Looks into his face
Wonders the story behind each crease
Touches her own bland face imagining,
Her mother notices and drags her away
The man is unmoved, watches and waits
For one day that same girl will ask him his story.