Paused at the corner of Fremont and Decoto,
just missed the green light as a stranger
with a 12 x 12 piece of cardboard
catches the corner of my eye.
Need to get home to Seattle.
Any help welcome. $1-2
Can I trust that story?
With a sigh, I reach for my wallet,
opening a window that separates
an African American man
from a South Asian American woman,
one being suspicious and in a hurry,
the other patient and counting
on something deeper than a wallet.
The dollar bill slips easily
into square, callused hands
that won’t let go till i look up
into gentle, honest eyes –
obsidian hints of misunderstanding,
doors closing, a black body for sale
without the owner’s permission.
$1 isn’t enough.
The second bill provides an opportunity
to shake hands with holiness,
to feel the rough edges
of smooth, misguided perceptions,
to remember that we are all
just trying to make our way home.