That old man was grizzly
with a white beard,
and a stooped frame
and a slightly humped back.
His gnarly fingers
twisted with arthritis
held fast to an old wooden cane;
His baggy overalls
had holes in the knees
and the cuffs were ragged and frayed.
One his dirty feet he wore
an old pair of sandals.
He stood at the corner
near my bus stop and
I carefully avoided eye contact
and the tin cup he held out
for spare change.
I could see that his eyes
were clouded by cataracts
and yet I averted my glance
to prevent looking into his face.
That old man disturbed me,
made me uncomfortable;
‘Old beggar’ I thought,
‘probably makes more money
than I do working in an insurance
office every day. probably spends
it all on alcohol – Until one day
when it was pouring down rain
As I stepped off the bus
and pulled the hood to my raincoat
over my head,
That old man was not at the bus stop.
I wondered aloud where he could be,
probably trying to keep dry in a doorway.
“That old man?” said the bus driver,
overhearing my words, “He got hit by
a bus yesterday–not MINE–heard he
was tryin to push a kid out of the path
and I wondered about that old man–
how could he see if he was blind?
I bought the evening paper from a corner
store and searched until I found a very
small paragraph on page 15:
OLD MAN KILLED SAVING CHILD.
UNIDENTIFIED HOMELESS MAN WAS
STRUCK BY A CITY BUS THURSDAY
Sandra Lee Smith
First posted June 6, 2009
Updated July 31, 2018