Rain was falling in sheets.
Waiting for the light to change
I noticed him: short and thin,
hunched over crutches, pants leg
tied off just where his left knee
should have been,
stringy brown hair
stuck to his ears and neck,
jacket soiled and soaked.

Where had I learned the
etiquette of the advantaged?
Never make eye contact.
Don’t give them money.
Beggars should go somewhere,
get help, dry out.

How could I not reach for my purse,
grab a wad of bills,
roll down my window, and
yes, make eye contact?
Across the grassy berm
he hobbled to my car,
leaned on one crutch, took
my money, smiled and said:
“God bless you.”

The rest of the drive to my
warm and welcoming home,
I saw his pale eyes, felt his
blessing washing over me.

Kathy Wade

Author of a novel, Perfection, and many essays and poems. A teacher, writer and consultant in Cincinnati, Ohio. https://www.kathleenwadeperfection.com

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