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He Delivers Christmas boxes for the Salvation Army

He Delivers Christmas Boxes for the Salvation Army 

A drunk with stained jeans hobbles to the front.

We volunteers shuffle between parcels and those less


fortunate.  In turn, we carry donated boxes of turkey

and canned food out to waiting cars.  These other volunteers


have calculated, with certain probability, that this man

is my customer.  They watch us with shifting eyes


and whisper like church girls.  This drunk, who smells of urine

and wine, smiles at me two rows of rotted stumps


balances his lanky weight on a cane. I carry

his box outside--inhale the stiff December air.


In the parking lot, my customer has misplaced

his vehicle.


“I’m sorry,” he says to his shoes, “I’m fucked up.”


“It’s alright,” I tell him, “take your time.” 

I stand there in the cold, suddenly


aware of arriving on this day, like my customer,

wanting little more than to locate those things


I’ve lost along the way--and how later, I’ll try


to laugh off my unease, knowing for the first time,

these fragile spaces between all of us.