Beautiful downtown Atlanta
Sunny, blue, cloudless sky
Tall, wide, massive buildings
Window glass glistening in the sun
Beautiful, well-dressed people
Gainfully employed people
Taking care of business people
Running essential errands
Contributing to the community
Pursuing positive, purposeful lives.
I take in the sights, sounds, smells
Sounds of people walking, talking
Engines revving and car horns
Smells of restaurants and fast food vendors
Engine exhaust and overheated brakes
The feel of the sidewalk
Under my expensive dress shoes
The heat of the sun on my face and neck
The exciting hustle and bustle
Of a thriving metropolis.
A faint “Please, sir. . .” reaches my ears
And a homeless man appears
Dirty, disheveled, hirsute
“Please, sir. Could you. . .”
His weak speech trails off
As I divert my eyes, quicken my pace
Ignoring his petty pleas
As he disappears in my wake
Bothersome soul, good riddance
Why doesn’t the city do something?
Days later the encounter haunts me
I was so proud of the way I handled myself
How easy it was to dismiss a soul in need
Months later the encounter haunts me
Instead of the clever human
I had become cruel, inhuman
Unfeeling, unkind, uncaring
Years later the encounter still haunts me
Never will it ever happen again
Never. . . ever.
Copyright © 2018 by Mark Toney. All rights reserved.