Brother Man

Here I sit. In my car.

Trapped between the life behind me

and the life in front of me.

There you are.

I can see you through the side window.

Stumbling. Listing. Stopping.

One step. Faltering.  Weaving. Swaying.

Stopping. Leaning on your cane. Leaning with your cane.

Seconds pass. Too many?

The next step? Will there be a next step?

You move aside.

Did you hear the couple behind you?

Striding. Intentional. Purposeful.

She flashes you the peace sign as they leave you in their wake.

Thanking you for hearing them and making space for them to flow past?

Acknowledging you as fellow human being, perhaps caught

between bad choices in extreme situations?

Apologizing that their lives leave no time to ask you

Brother man,

Why are you weaving, swaying, faltering?

What happened? Last night, this year, at the last crossroads

when you turned left and not right?

Why the cane, ’cause it doesn’t seem to be workin’ for you.

How did you come to be here? Are you really alone?

Is this shambling walk determination to get where you’re going

on your own?

Every stumble a victory.

Each sway off center, even to the edge of collapse

and back again

a testament

to your resolve.

Are you  in distress?

Should the couple who strode past

have stopped to inquire?

Should I set my blinkers, rush hour traffic be damned,

shout out the window

“Brother Man, what do you need?”

Do you need our help?

Do you want our help?

Can we … help?