Poetry

Litanies Against Dying, 25 (207.)

It’s funny what a t-shirt can conjure.
Nostalgia, last year creeping back,
the weeks leading up to that concert
(I don’t often attend live performances),
the camaraderie we all shared,
the meetup at the restaurant closer to the center of town,
the carpool to the venue, the wait
in the line that stretched along three streets,
the dismay at being barred from the floor,
the joy at hearing expected hits and a
predictable-yet-awesome encore,
the goofy comments when I injected insulin
(“Whoa, this is where the party’s at!”),
the strange conversation that kept us all
way too long after the show,
standing in a loose circle outside that restaurant
as a lonely homeless man talked in circles
and I now wish I had some sort of food to give him,
but he didn’t seem bothered by hunger,
he just wanted to talk,
so we listened, even after we’d heard
the same basic statements three times,
and our eyes stayed on the asphalt,
’cause we didn’t know how to admit
that we wanted to leave
but weren’t brave enough to do so,
until one of us looked up from his phone
and said “Hey, aren’t we heading over there to buy a drink?” –
a flimsy excuse,
but an effective one nonetheless.
We got out of there, and I hope
that homeless man found something to eat,
and a safe place to sleep,
and I hope his family’s okay.
All of that and more
is in this t-shirt.

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