Shopping Cart

Shopping Cart pdf

Windshield wipers,
back and forth, back and forth,
a metronome of tidiness,
back and forth, back and forth.

Mechanical order—
makes it easy to see
despite the rain.

Autopilot behind the wheel, behind more wheels.

I look out the window to a common sight.

Unlike black or white, the color of grey,
cold rain shimmers on his shopping cart,
his moving van on flimsy wheels.

All he can bequeath, inside.

His face,
weathered by human ambivalence.

The gray hairs that crown his glory,
do not soften;
we have somewhere to be.

Later, I spot a panhandler
with a sign I cannot read, 
role down the window
hand him two bucks
so I can feel good again,
relieved,
it isn’t me. 

 An anxious hand
accepts my expiation
my sin of disregard is lifted, 
then I feel sandpaper skin
harsh against mine,
I cringe 
and wonderwhy?

 

2 thoughts on “Shopping Cart

  1. I really dig this poem as well–a cinematic scene that captures that economic reservation–that other city–within our city. A city we often treat as invisible. Working that line between us and them is so tricky, and this poem captures that. What is the gesture?

    1. Thank you for the kind words. I was on my way to enjoy some golf in the rain, which is only a minor inconvenience to a golfer. While waiting for traffic to move along, I genuinely felt guilty but knew I was not going to offer any help because I had a tee time to make, so when I saw the panhandle on my way home I gave him a handout to ease my guilt. I am still left with the, what should I have done different.

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