Amy Jones

Rookie (1985 / Ontario)

A Gastown Bum - Poem by Amy Jones

I held her close to my side as we walked out of the restaurant.
The way she bounced when she stepped reminded me of a high-strung child
That I needed to keep a close watch on.
She hummed as she bounced.
Not a sound,
But a vibration.
She bounced and buzzed and smiled so big that I almost wanted to cry.
At that moment, I think I fell in love with Kieran.

Some god somewhere must have heard what I had been thinking,
And sent the strangest minister I could have imagined.
“Excuse me.” We turned. “Are you two married? ”
He was a bum to be sure, but not overly offensive.
She smiled at him,
Or maybe at the thought.
I didn’t mean to but I squeezed her closer to me and pulled her a few inches back.
I realized that I was treating her like a child that I needed to protect.

Not seeming to be phased by the man, she told him that we were not.
“You have a beautiful girl smiling ear to ear, what’s wrong with you man? ”
That surprised me even more than his first question.
I didn’t have time to think about it
Because he offered,
To marry us.
He said that God had told him to pray for all the unmarried couples
And he showed us the harmonica that he would play at our wedding.

Kieran just laughed and said that she didn’t think she wanted to get married today.
I just stared at him, wondering what he was going to say next.
It was then that he asked for some money.
Explaining that he was a bum, but a clean bum.
Then she frowned.
She looked distressed.
I think she wanted nothing more than to help this guy out by giving him her money.
She sadly explained to him that she only had her debit card on her.

Maybe he saw how disappointed she was that she couldn’t help him out
Because out of his coat, he whipped out this medium sized toy monster truck.
He said he wanted her to take the truck.
That it was a gift for our unborn child.
She smiled at him,
Then she smiled at me.
He went on his way, continuing down the street to the next couple.
She held close to my side as we started walking, still bouncing, buzzing and smiling.

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Poem Submitted: Sunday, May 14, 2006

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