There Is a Man
There is a man goes stumbling through this town,
his left side trembling as if touched by stroke
or palsy, maybe, and he wears a face
that says, "I want this," looking steady, down
where feet must totter straight. We never spoke,
I do not know him, but in all this place
nobody says so surely or so clear,
Desire is all there is to keep us here.
How easy—irresistible, for me—
in the ungainly shoes he drags with such
tenacity, to falter, to let be,
let go. Just once, I think, release your touch
on that hard substance, life, and you go free.
How wonderful to want it all that much.
Rhina P. Espaillat
© 2000; first published in
Pivot. Reprinted by
permission of the author.