1 minute read

Sometimes I get so involved
The room around me melts
The people blur, their mouths mute
My thing, my focus, my need.

Much like the woman today
“Can I have four dollars?”
“No,” as calmly and kindly as I can manage.
“Can I have one dollar?”
“No,” with the same gentleness.
“Can I have four dollars?” her voice rings down the street.

Under a bench, I see a white circle.
Bending down, I find a penny caked in sidewalk salt
And another and another.
Feeling inspired, I note the four one-dollar bills in my pocket.

I walk down the street, patiently waiting for her current conversation to conclude.
“I have four dollars.”
She gently takes them from me.
I feel satisfied, ready to continue my day,
Asking people for donations in my own way.
What do I expect?
Thank you maybe
Perhaps she will go on her way,
Having raised the required funds
For food, bus fare or anything.

Not a moment has actually passed
She looks into my eyes and says
“Can I have some more money?”
I feel the wind leave my lungs.
My brow reddens.
But why?

I was doing my own thing for my own reasons.
So is she.
Involved in her task
Doing what she needs to meet her need, to survive
I melt away. I am not there.
I blur. There is no me to her.
Not then. Not there. She is involved.

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