Never order sushi in Denver
The exit sign above the door illuminates
like a promise, but points toward the
same familiar world it always does.
Through the long windows, walking near
the shops by the lake is an old man wearing
a Tam and looking a bit out of place, as if he
is subtly searching for something as he strolls.
He's holding on to ties to a faraway land
and seems to have one foot in an era most
now never knew, although he doesn't
appear discontent, so much as painted
into a scene not designed with him in mind.
A lady in a bright yellow raincoat walking
in the opposite direction stops in obvious
joy at seeing him, giving the warm
prolonged hug reserved for family, or a
kind neighbor that has been there with wisdom
in the times when one is ready to accept it.
My thoughts shift to an Afghan I saw begging
in Frankfurt on a cold night in February, which
made me weep uncontrollably as I walked into
wind that cut through me like the sight of him.
I had wanted to kick him without mercy as I
pictured all those that had died and gone
without in order to send him there, and of all
those that would have cut off their fingers for the
chance he had been given and was pissing away.
People coming toward us looked through this
scene that had so affected me as if we were
invisible - we were just two foreigners whose steps
would leave no footprints on their cobblestone.
As I look at the two hugging, I suddenly feel the
shoulders on which I am standing, while peering at
a world that doesn't know me as well as I know it.
-- April 10, 2003