at least 10 minutes away

At Least 10 Minutes Away

Coming home on the N Judah around 3 p.m.
a homeless man gets on at one of the stops
holding a blanket, a pillow, and all of his
worldly possessions in a cotton sack.

As soon as he sits down in the front,
everyone gets up and moves to the back.

Now the only one sitting within a few feet of him,
I take in the strongest smell of urine and excrement
that my nostrils can remember.

And just as I’m about to get up myself,
the guy turns to me and says, “Good to see you!
and smiles a toothless smile that makes me feel
too guilty to move,

So I smile back holding in most of my breath,
hoping I don’t faint before the streetcar
arrives at my spot. . .
at least 10 minutes away.

© 2017 by Jeff Zable

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