And I Wonder copy

And I Wonder

©2013 Louise Gallagher

A man sits at the corner
his hands in bright yellow gloves resting
on the tires of his wheelchair
one foot is on the ground, the other is missing
there is no leg where once he walked freely.

The light turns green, he crosses over
two hands turning the wheels
his one bright orange sneakered foot pushes him along
I drive on, leaving him in my rear view mirror
and wonder about how it came to be he lost his leg.

Four men stand at a corner
ebony skinned, they huddle in puffy down jackets
eyes peering out from beneath ball caps and hoods pulled up
I know what they are doing. I know who they are waiting for
they stand there, every day, in wait of prey.

And I wonder, is the wheelchair bound man rolling
towards the elixir they dole out in tiny packets?
Is he hoping to score some relief from the sorrow
and the sadness of where his life has lead him
so far from the dreams that danced through his youth?

And I wonder, are these men proud of who they have become?
Was this their dream when first they arrived in this land
fleeing the strife of their motherland,
only to end up in another kind of war, battling for a corner
brokering deals, and stealing furtive looks for prospects and police?

And I know, the answer is not easy
it is not a straight line from where they came
to this place where the only answer they have found
to ease the fear and shame and disbelief
is to push it back and stand out
on a corner waiting
for someone
to roll on up
to buy
a moment of escape
that will make
all their dreams
come true.