An Encounter


In 2013 I saw burning streets

and violence natural and unnatural,

a city on fire.

I helped a man as old

as the three digit temperature

up the subway stairs

on my way to work

and each step took

ten heart beats.

The sweat became

our salvation as his charcoal

face sagged and showed no emotion.

His shaking cane gave no support

so I took his arm and led him above

steaming concrete into aching light.

I expected gratitude and received

none, which was better somehow

I walked through solidifying heat

and desired to keep the encounter

secret in order to appreciate

its value and yet I ruined

it by bragging in casual conversation

w/ a wealthy customer.

Just like that it didn’t matter

anymore like everything else

out in the open

smoldering under

our city’s setting sun.

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