THAT OLD MAN

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

of traffic”

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

AFTERNOON…

Sandra Lee Smith

First posted June 6, 2009

Updated July 31, 2018

 

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