Stare at the Stones

Stare at the Stones

“My name is David.”
He puts down his grocery bag
with the loaf of bread sticking out
from the top.
“I have children.”
I nod,
then break our short moment of eye contact
to look at the tiny ants crawling
over the stones on the ground.
He walks down the steps behind me
leaving his bread
in its bag
on the bench
across from mine.
I hear the light splatter of his urine
making contact
with the cement down below
I picture it making a colored
yet clear
pool.
I picture it splashing upon itself
and up onto his old, worn-out work boots.
I look at the stones on the ground.

He comes back,
sits down across from me.
I stare at the stones.
“I have children.”
His words slightly slur.
A Friday, late morning,
sunny, beautiful day.
Yet his words slightly slur.
I know he watches me.
Like a challenge
he watches me watch the ground.

I look at him.

A blue work suit – a cover-all,
tattered, faded,
mouth held open
to reveal
stained teeth,
absent teeth,
the gray hair is a layer of fuzz
covering the face,
the whole head,
eyes: unfocused, but
full of life, expectant.

Stare at the stones.

“I have children.”
Stare at the stones.

“My name is David.”
Stare at the stones.

“Miss, I love my children.”
Stare at the stones.

I know he won’t leave.
I must.

“Please, Miss.”
I gather my things,
take one last glance.
His eyes say no,
no,
please don’t go.
Those round, curved, glistening pools
have life –
something within
that lives without,
that has always lived without,
but has lived.
They are pure,
childlike, expectant,
ever-hopeful.
And they focus on me
in their sad, unfocused way.

Stare at the stones.

I stand, smile.
“Miss?”

I simply say:
“I hope you enjoy the sunshine,”
then walk away.

(Published on slipnet – the Stellenbosch Literary Project website, September 2012)

No, not, never

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