image borrowed from bing
“No one would remember the samaritan if he only had
good intentions--he has to have money too.”
When you came out of the supermarket
and you were approached by a teenager
in a gray hoodie, with a yellow striped
skateboard tucked under one arm,
and he asked you for spare change,
you stopped & stared at him
“Stupid little shit--
who does he think he is?
Why did he pick me to ask?
Why doesn’t he just flip burgers
for some pocket money
like most of his friends?
Did his parents know that he was
out here begging for money
Yet he calmly returned the stare,
& there was no arrogance
or lack of respect
in his watery blue eyes;
there were dark circles under them,
dirt on his cheeks, & he had bad breath
with yellowed teeth.
“Was he high on drugs,
or strapped with a Glock,
or carrying a hunting knife?
He was terribly thin,
his soiled clothes hung on him
like rags on a bag of bones,
his cheeks were wet
from recently weeping,
& he had a long scar
on his forehead.
Other people bustled by
unaware of the mini-drama
playing out in those few
chilly rain-soaked moments.
Making a snap decision,
you pulled out your wallet
and handed the young man
a five dollar bill.
“Thank-you,” he said quietly,
moving on quickly to another shopper.
He had a ripped back pocket
on his grimy jeans, & you could see
his dirty white underwear poking out.
When you got to your car,
you became angry with yourself;
“The little asshole probably conned me--
screwed again by my soft heart!”
“Or maybe he will eat his first meal today
across the street at McDonald’s.”
But the anger resurfaced with a resentful surge;
“You’re just an easy mark, a sucker--too stupid
to realize you can’t fix the world with five bucks.
Then another voice suggested,
“No, I can’t--but maybe this small thing I have done
will infuse a positive vibe into the dark soul of just
one lost child, & it will be a pivotal point, a new
beginning, an impetus for change.”
So you felt good as you drove home,
deciding not to dwell on the negative
Two days later, you saw the same kid
in the strip mall parking lot, laughing
& skateboarding with some other boys,
wearing clean clothes, & a damned
stab of regret left the taste of metal
in your mouth.
Posted over on dVerse Poets Poetics
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