Precariously balanced on the back half of a metal chair,
Tipping somewhere between stability and pain,
Sat the man.
Olive skin, thick black hair,
Eyes the color of the finest hazlenuts money could buy.
From the first glance, one could tell that he had known suffering,
His hungry eyes, weathered hands, and beaten shoes could tell no lies,
Though he was half-shrouded by the sweet smoke which he breathed.
Yet he seemed so relaxed and content,
Prepared to take whatever might be hurled at him next.
He asked me if I would like a puff.
"It make you to relax, miss."
The words rolled off of his tongue like a Jewish cantor's song.
"No, but thank you."
His hazelnut eyes glistened in the impending dusk,
Bare hands wringing themselves.
Was he nervous?
He began to fidget with his collared work shirt,
Shorts sleeves thin from wear,
As if he were afraid to say anything else.
"Well, I best be going now. It was a pleasure talking to you, sir."
I stood up and continued to walk back down the street.
I thought of the exotic man,
The way he looked and what he wore.
I thought, "Why would he wear that in December?"
I did not need to ask myself.
I wrote this about a young man that I encountered this past winter. To say the least, he left an impression on me.