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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.

Graphics by Kelly

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