Beggar Man - Poem by C.J. Heck
You were a gentle soul,
with a stained red plaid shirt,
hat speckled with bird poop,
in saggy-baggy pants that stopped
just above two heelless shoes that were
see-through to feet with no socks.
So many mornings
I walked by your corner,
putting money in your cup
if only to borrow a smile
when I had none left of my own.
I always knew the one you gave
would be the one that found
those I had only misplaced for awhile.
Countless times we shared a lunch,
and so did many others,
hot soup from the deli across the street
or half a tuna sandwich from home,
you shared your wooden pallet
but not once a conversation,
and all the while, you never missed a beat
as you continued to pass out
that glorious smile to everyone
who sauntered by.
I wonder what happened in your life
to make you take up
residence on that corner,
to die cold and alone,
the smiles you apportioned
your only living legacy.
You will be missed by many,
even the shopkeepers who
so often shooed you away.
I hope you knew
what you meant to me
… and I didn’t even know your name.
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