sunday morning – james steck

He was in a wheelchair
outside of the coffee shop
east of the U.S. Capitol holding out
a 7-Eleven Big Gulp cup
having what might have been
an asthma attack and asking for help.

We gave him some cash;
he needed nine more dollars
to buy the medicine to open his throat
or maybe it was something else
and his wheezing
was only something else
and the coffee shop
continued to make
the cappuccinos
the lattes
the cold brew—

I drank a cappuccino that day
and then a tea—
Earl Grey.

His name was probably not Earl
his face was definitely grey
and his voice broke
in between each
exclamation
of
“Please”
and
“Help”
and the coffee drinkers
continued to drink
and pet their dogs that day;
I just
wrote about it.

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