Self, Betrayed


I walked right by

a man in pain;

suffering from the heat of the day.


He was perched on a sidewalk

on the far side of the grocery store

halfway shaded, halfway sunned.


It was easily ninety-nine degrees that day;

the type of heat dead chickens

must feel once tucked inside

the oven; the kind of heat

that drives grown men to rage.


He didn’t see me pass by,

bags chocked full of

foods and drinks; he

was rather crying, curled

up against the wall, eyes

and arms reaching out

to no one; muttering,

sobbing quietly under his breath.


It was the kind of scene

that speaks of its essence in an instant;


and the moment I laid

my eyes on him, my

spirit collapsed inside me…


… and I walked by …