He calls to me from fifty feet away. I veer toward the middle of the street. A social distance, not, I recognize, from caution against COVID-19 contagion. “I’m taking my morning walk,” he says. “Me, too,” I reply, not the I, as well rejoinder of the recently retired university professor of English, Director of Creative Writing, someone not quite embarrassed at being a poet. Not yet.
One year out, volunteering at City Light Community Ministries, I am almost back to the vocabulary of high-school East Texas backroads, a V-8 Ford, Death a bum trying to thumb a ride. Not quite.
So I know him. He asks, “Will they call the police?” They being the cul-de-sac wealthy one street over. “They can’t,” I say, “not if you don’t trespass on their property.” We both recognize this lie.
He is the demoniac displaced to the tombs. The leper sequestered beyond family and uncontaminated friends. The blind. The withered. The beggar disturbing the peace of those who have someplace to get to. Like me. Not quite. Race-walking. On purpose.
“God bless you,” he says, raising his hand, palm open toward me. “Peace, brother.” He turns down the cul-de-sac.
* I’m hoping this Post may be the first in a series of serendipitous small joys, unexpected light shedding some of the current darkness.