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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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