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  • Zen Man

    I didn’t see him sitting there and neither did the dog.

    Usually, he’s unmistakable with his schizophrenic swagger,

    his hair emptied in a crop circle among a field of gray follicles. 

    How we both missed him,

    how the dog failed to smell him,

    my amazement in

    how I didn’t smell him.

    Listen, 

    being homeless and less dirty than people going home to their

    shower every night would be quite a feat,

    wouldn’t you say?

    I’ve never noticed the spot he’s sitting in before;

    it’s strangely hidden even though it brushes shoulders with the

    sidewalk. 

    The tree leaves umbrella down, a green canopy over his bald leather

    crown, his coarse remains wrapping around his ears like ivy, an invasive

    outgrowth of matted beard, a jungle down his neck and back too.

    The bark on the trees is milk chocolate brown, the dirt is dark chocolate

    with sea salt and worms.

    I see him before the dog sees him, (this no-good protector of mine)

    and he’s five feet from us,

    a frog on a green rock, a lotus on water, quiet and sitting with his legs crossed. 

    Other days I can look down from my apartment a block over, I can look down and see him under my window, chatting to himself, sitting in a circle of empty food wrappers, sometimes sitting for only a few seconds before pushing himself up again.

    Listen,

    I’ve watched him a few times now.

    Him oblivious to my watching. Him, a character in my world.

    A product of my society.

    Today, he sat and watched

    me: a character in his world.

    A product of his society.

    Today he sat and watched a man and his dog. 

    Today, he was as sane as the trees,

    or at

    minimum, as sane as this world.  

     

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