The Man Is Missing | Bonnie Fisher
From the corner just after I leave the freeway,
the old drunk with the tattered sign:
WILL WORK FOR FOOD
I’ve never seen anyone give him work or food.
Most look away as if by not looking
they can make him disappear.
Once someone jumped from a car and chased him off.
I look in the other direction
although I think of bringing him food,
or of picking him up and bringing him home
to fix a few things around my house,
then paying him well.
I know it’s simply money he wants,
not work, not food.
I think of bringing him money.
I rehearse how I’ll lower the car window
and thrust a 20 in his direction.
“I wish you well,” I’ll say
or I’ll say nothing at all.
I wonder where he’s gone:
to the hospital,
to stay with a rich son?
Maybe he’s dead.
What will I do now that he is gone?
Upon whom will I pin my fantasies of
helping the world in some small way
now that the man on the corner is gone?