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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.