A Public Sphere for Poetry, Politics, and Nature
He stopped and asked if I could spare some change.
I thought, Oh yes, I could spare so much: another job,
a new home, other clothes, better weather, more chances,
less pain. Yes, I could spare some change.
He held out his hand—callused, sooted, cracked.
I groped for my wallet, and I held his eyes:
still young, if half-alive; as if they and his body were not
the same—there were the chances he mistook,
the changes on a dime—the house, the car, the wife
or lover, the constantly put off grave.
All I had was a clean last twenty.
Without a thought, I handed it to him.
As he gently took it, his hand in mine, I knew:
It’s all we ever want—the holding. The asking
is never as hard as the needing, the accepting
never as hard as the taking.
Copyright 2017 Philip F. Clark. From The Carnival of Affection (Sibling Rivalry Press). Included in Vox Populi by permission of the author.