He opened his face to me,
holding out his elder hand and asking,
his voice a murmur in another language.
I was looking for the bus stop,
I was anxious, busy,
his presence was an interference.
I did not look him in the eye
I shut my face to him.

When I saw my stop and crossed to wait,
his face floated up in my mind.
I reached for my purse
and looked for his flapping coat.
He was gone.
But his face stayed, his asking.
My refusal to see him
went on, and on.

I blessed him for teaching me
that I’d gone first, absent
at the moment our paths crossed.
His face stayed, reminded me
of someone I’d known and loved.
Prayers I had saved up
in the purse of my heart,
poured out in his wake,
jingling good will, given late,
but fresh with love and sorrow.

©Susa Silvermarie 2019

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