Stephen J. Wolf
The Man Before Me
Poem by Stephen J. Wolf
A man stands before me with fear in his eyes.
He seems prepared to reveal a surprise.
His cheeks are lined in strong definition.
His jaw is set; he's on a mission.
I know that I've seen this man before.
But remembering where is such a chore.
His basic features are blond and blue.
But that's common enough; I know that's true.
His nose is straight and rightly aligned.
His hands mimic a helpless design.
Grains of stubble mark his face.
They make him look older and out of place.
He turns around and he disappears,
But I caught a glance of his listening ear.
I know he would listen if given the task,
But instead, I just watch as he turns back.
Indeed I've seen this man in the past.
All I need to do is ask.
But as I open my mouth to speak,
His lips tremble and he looks so bleak.
I'm afraid to tell him I don't know who he is.
He seems so frail; he might die in a fizz.
So I stare in his eyes and I see his mind.
Turmoil and longing are all that I find.
Tears fill his eyes as I gaze in,
And I see on his face, he can never win.
The saline drops cleanse his face.
I want to solace him with an embrace.
He looks so sad but I don't know why.
Inside myself, I urge to cry.
I close my eyes in a weary state
Trying to envision this poor man's fate.
He turns his head down to see the floor,
Curious, I look too, but I see nothing more.
His eyes trace the lines of the discolored tiles
While his hands touch his clothes that are out of style.
I feel pity for this man whom I do not know.
He then holds his hands up to ease my woe.
A weak smile tells me he'll be fine,
So I smile in response and straighten my spine.
He takes my lead and bolsters his back,
His hands smooth his shirt to remove the slack.
Then he offers me his hand in gratitude,
So I reach into his solitude.
But there is a wall through which my hand cannot pass.
When I look again, I see the mirrored glass.
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