People on Jasper Avenue

People on Jasper Avenue go to their work.
Woman in a beige blazer waiting for the walk light.
A heavy middle-aged man pushing a bicycle.
Young man with a limp and a case under an arm
that’s forever bent at his side.
An old man, grey business suit,
smoothing down mists of white hair as he walks.
He stumbles and recovers, feels himself stupid.
A young woman in a Save-On shirt,
frowning into her phone.
A lady with severe lipstick and black sunglasses.
Such severity awaits the softening of age.
A goateed man with cigarette
and headphones—a lock on his thoughts.
I’ve come here for seven years,
but you will see these same people on any street.
They are us in our best state:
awkward, lonely, vain, fractured
—even in our best state.
In the mornings we come and test our space.
We gather and worry the nearness.
In the evenings we separate and fear the distance,
and pray into the dark to be remembered.
Awkward, lonely, vain, fractured, injured.
Not many wise, not many beautiful.
But walk slow on any sidewalk,
watch long through any window,
lean back on any patio,
and the warm radiance of belonging
to common people will move in your  chest.
Sit, linger, watch eyes,
and your own will go wet with wonder.
Will you take and hold this foolish moment?
Will you rehearse, nurse, nurture this foolish moment?
So foolish—and the only moment of your day that’s real.


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