Man of Few Words

man of few words

At first glance, there was something unsettling

about this man with steel grey eyes

that pierced even the darkest shadows

A man of few words, he set to work

carefully displaying bouquets of flowers

on his cart by the riverside

the brilliant colors, a sharp contrast

to his somber countenance

His gnarled fingers, covered in fingerless gloves

that had long since lost their form

gently urged each blossom to share its authentic voice

although his was muted, punctuated with monosyllabic

grunts accompanied by a slight jerk of his whiskered chin

as he wove metallic ribbons and pastel papers around his wares

And when he was done he pulled out the rusty sign,

almostly lovingly caressing its faded message

as he bolted it to the willow tree that sprawled overhead

No human is illegal

the donation box for a local charity, worn and well used

was prominently placed among the daisies and already half full

as I sidled up to his ramshackle cart

Drawn to the contrast of the beauty of the blooms and his wrinkled face

that almost disappeared into the weeping branches behind him,

I offered a smile, expecting nothing in return

as those haunting eyes met mine

Still, it was a story I had to know

and so I asked

my words, my soul, my heart pleaded

Tell me

For a moment, nothing

only the sounds of the city behind us

children’s laughter mocking the connection

I tried to make as I silently begged my shaking legs

to hold up under the gaze of his silent glare

Tell me

I pointed to the box

Tell me

After a moment, he spoke, his words tracing his own journey

across a world I’ve never known, never knew

Simply relaying hardships that he’d experienced

Trials and tribulations suffered in search of something better

Of losses that forced him to leave everything he knew

to find something better

Of hard work and set backs as he created a new life for the family he

carried with him

Of his father’s sprawling nursery, left behind in a place

he used to call home

No human is illegal

He spoke and I listened

captivated under a sky bathed in reds and purples

of the setting sun as those foreign fields sprang to life

the chill of the approaching evening settled in as he finished

and I wiped the tears on my cheek I hadn’t realized fell

until those gnarled fingers gathered the prettiest bouquet

and offered them to me with a smile

That man of few words gifting me with more than a souvenir

of a connection made between strangers

A gentle reminder to remain aware of all that we share

as people living separate lives together

photo: mine

prompts: Rising Phoenix Review, prompt 13, WD April PAD, prompt 14, #Tasty Poem,

Writing Knights, prompt 7, #SableSwanV

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