Diamonds Beneath The Soles Of My Shoes
There was the time when the guy surprised me as I
relieved myself at the urinal, the knife point
firm against my back, yelling something
about someone, turning my face slowly
just in time to catch his blinded stare.
Said nothing. Nothing for me to say
about whoever he was angry with and looking for,
but he just bit his lip, closed the switch blade
as he stepped back, turning on his heels.
Maybe that bag lady at the stairs inside the Port Authority,
two coats, dirty mittens and a shawl
at ten on a winter night.
About everything, it seemed,
gathering the plastic about her, counting
how many, how long, what did she forget?
I stopped on the steps to give her
my coffee and Danish and she yelled, "No!"
and I yelled back, for her to take it all,
which she did, from fright or hunger I wouldn't know.
Back then there were glass chips
in the asphalt mix and in the night
they sparkled underneath the street lamps,
not gold but diamonds in the tar of the roads,
while here and there the falling apart of dreams
melting into the ocher moonlight.
The sad, the gentle, the forgiving