Touch: The Journal of Healing



People Passing

    by Jeanie Greensfelder

By the grocery, a homeless man smokes.

Seeing me, he hides his cigarette,

stands up, nods his head, and says,

Ma’am, may you have a beautiful day.

His greeting follows me into the store

where I gather green beans and bread.

On leaving, I plan to thank the man,

and talk to him, but he’s gone.

The neighborhood yardman unloads

his truck and emotions — he had

another fight with his son,

he just can’t stop.

Later, near the beach — a gull eyes

my smoked-salmon taco, and

a boy whizzes by in his wheelchair.

I say Great day! to a woman passing —

she frowns and shrugs her shoulders.

On my evening walk, a man

parks his clunky red Thunderbird,

gets out, sets his puppy on the roof,

and reaches inside for packages. I say,

Cute dog, cute car, and pass by. Behind me, I hear

Ma'am! Ma'am! Cute car, cute dog…what about me?

I look back and smile at the disheveled man.

In bed I remember Browning's poem,

"Pippa Passes," about a little girl walking,

unaware of the effect she has on townspeople.

Thinking of the Pippas I passed today,

I wonder if one of them

lies in bed thinking of me.

© 2012  Jeanie Greensfelder

* Previously published in Biting the Apple, Penciled In

Jeanie Greensfelder has had non-fiction published in Shape Magazine, fiction published in the Central Coast Magazine, and poems published in AskewOrbis, Echoes, Grand, Kaleidoscope, Porter Gulch Review, Poetic Medicine Journal, The RagRiptide, Falling Star, and Vine Leaves. She has a poetry page in the SLO Coast Journal.

Copyright © 2014

Touch: The Journal of Healing

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