A solitary soldier, casual duty,
busy downtown street corner, holding
sturdy, corrugated weapon-semaphore;
bold, black Magic Marker scrawl, sincere
He is neatly dressed; though not stylish
suit, tie stylish – earth tones befitting
his lone prop
The man is sixty, maybe seventy –
without the chin stubble, maybe fifty,
or even younger. Maybe not.
Coming to my mandated traffic stop
I watch him as he pivots his sign my way,
he waves, I reciprocate; he is deliberate,
nonchalant, smiling, happy, intent:
Another man pulls up, the lane between me
and the man with the cardboard admonition
the guy in the car cocks his head, puzzled as
the man at the curb waves his way, smiles.
As the light turns green, the guy turns back,
gives his car a jolt of gas then thinks better of it;
stops quickly, car jerks; he glances back toward
reminder man, briskly flipping him a quick,
one fingered salute, squeals rubber through
the intersection, and is gone – leaving the man
with the sign, smiling – his point gracefully taken.
Repent, says the cardboard.
I wave again to the man with the sign, smile.
He smiles back broadly, waves as I drive off
Somebody has to do it.