Street Scene – Boston, March 2015


Looking down 10 stories
from my hotel room
to a street canyon-ed by snow,

I watch  tiny figures
hurrying against the wind,
gripping collars, heads down. 

Only a homeless man,
a grey blanket wrapped
around him, 
moves slowly. 

I decide I need a smoke,
so I make my way down
to the street and the doorman
tells me it’s too cold to go out,
but he smiles as he says it. 

I huddle against the building
as the grey-blanked man 
approaches and  I hold out 
a cigarette – an offering.
He stops, and says, 
“I quit smoking in 1992.”

I pull a five dollar bill
out of my pocket and slip 
it into his hand–a hand
that’s brutally cold. 

We stand together and suddenly
I take one of his gloveless hands
between mine and begin warming
it up–and then the other hand. 

I ask him his name, and he replies:

Later that night
In a lovely restaurant,
as the snow fell silently,
Skirting the streetlights
in lacy gowns, 
I thought of my father, 
decades gone,
and the grey-blanked man.

My father’s name was 
Eugene, and I don’t think
he was ever warm
whatever he was missing

Stalked him and pushed him
into the ever-colder nights
with no more than a grey blanket
for his wandering soul.



Author: Virginia Wagner Galfo

These are scary times. Prepare yourself to take a stand for what is right. God damn it, just be kind!

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