The Doorway Man

I threw some pennies in his pot
And shuffled past the door.
I told him I’d forget him not
Hoped he’d not want for more.

He wrapped his tatters round his frame
To settle for the night.
His fingers danced above a flame
Their warmth his one delight.

I couldn’t keep on walking past
Somehow it wasn’t right.
So I huddled down to sit a while
And understand his plight.

So how long have you been outside?
He said ‘a year or two’,
I had three jobs to pay the rent
And one of them fell through.

‘My wife was ill, we couldn’t cope
The stress was off the charts,
And suddenly I’m sleeping here
It’s rough when hope departs’.

‘And what of her, where is she now?’
No sadder story true,
‘It’s hard to even tell you how
She didn’t make it through’.

Within a year he’d lost his wife, his home
And his employ.
I had no words to offer him,
No ways to bring him joy.

A second cup of coffee in
His eyes began to glisten,
His story yank hard at my heart,
He wanted me to listen.

The hostel took him in that night
Both thanked me for my time.
But really, what was there to show
It hardly cost a dime. 

I walked away so helplessly
My head hung low in shame.
The doorway man with a broken heart,
I shall never forget his name.

Jumbled Bedfellows

Settlement City