Chagrin

by Steve Mitchell

such a hot day

at the parking meter

with my younger son

some guy walks up

older tan

clean cut

with a back pack

“excuse me – sorry to interrupt”

he asks for a bus pass

I shrug, sorry, no

“it’s only two dollars” he says

peevish, incredulous

under my skin

peevish, incredulous

I snap back

I don’t have any cash – it’s not MY problem

he leaves

it’s a lie

I have a five

and a riot act

and I’m up to here

with polite old strangers

and scraggly young strangers

they give their pitches

they ask for money

can’t walk one hundred yards

without a hand in my face

a voice in my ear

and I’m acutely aware

of my younger son

I know I know

I’m abashed

a bad standard

not much compassion

no charity

no excuses

but

it’s such a hot day

—-

© Steve Mitchell 2016

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