The lies don’t matter. Don’t let them blind you to the truth.
The sweat streamed down the back of his neck, made silver
by the indirect light through the window, and tears were jettisoned
off the tip of his nose. His chest could not bear more weight.
Salty words were spilled, as common as those of any beggar or liar: “Starving,” he said,
and his eyes were so very red. He kept them pointed down, away. I wanted to feed him.
Acidic words flowed quickly, like from the diamond sharp need
of a junkie: “I need my money,” he said, and his words were slurred.
Judgment requires a reason like an addict requires a vein. Truth is the drug.
He sank down into a chair after I’d called him Honey. I call everybody Honey,
but not usually accompanied by uncertainty and tears.
Erratic as a dandelion seed being pushed between buildings, down alleys that stink
of urine, and wasted food, his mind was jumping. Borderline belligerent
as a magician exposed, he wanted to thrash and scream.
“My mother died,” and the words were strangled by tears.
He hid his face and crushed me where I stood. His mother
may be alive and cooking collard greens in a bright yellow kitchen
or lying on a slab at the morgue with only a toe tag. When the need is greater than the lie
we see it – Everyman peering back at us from the mirror. Somebody’s child
is waiting there.
© Tina Zabielski 2011-2019