I saw a young man.
Saw him lean casual by the counter, waiting.
Saw him list as he walked, his cup cradled.
Saw him lower himself in a chair.
And pushing his case a measured distance,
saw him slump forward, open and lift
a notebook onto the table;
and using the effort of both arms,
slide it slowly towards himself,
such painfully long inches to go.
And if I were half a poet I could show you here,
how his pain was of a wounded dog,
a sparrow with a broken wing.
But I could also simply tell you,
how in one second my heart fell
and flooded me helpless and hurt
at the way he held up a smile
under those endless paralytic seconds,
that broke the surface of daily delusion
and swept me out of my head.