The first time I saw him was in the 90’s, when I worked as a receptionist at the health department. He was a little man with white hair and a serious expression. He said he’d cut his leg and needed medical treatment. He didn’t know that the health department only treated Sexually Transmitted Infections, dispersed birth control, and gave immunizations. I said we couldn’t help him but directed him to the emergency department of the hospital across the street.
The next time I saw him, he was walking down the busy avenue I used to live on, just a few blocks from my house. He had a pronounced limp. He lived in a small addition attached to a carpet remnant store. He had his own entrance. I saw him frequently over the years, always alone, always somber, shoveling or sweeping the small section of sidewalk he claimed as his own.
His limp worsened over time, until he rocked side to side with each step. I’ve wondered a million times whether he ever walked over to the the emergency department, and if he did was he turned away? I wondered why he was so alone. I don’t remember the last time I saw him.
Lonely on the fringe,
neighbors live separate lives
top image by Boss
My offering is a combination of #3 and #4. I’m not sure why I chose them. I hadn’t thought about that little man for years, but he arrived unbidden as I pondered what it’s like living on the fringe.
I am today’s host of dVerse‘ Poetics. I say:
Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to choose one of these paths:
1. Write a poem using the word edge;
2. Write a poem that keeps Millikin’s question above in mind;
3. Write a poem using the word fringe;
4. Write a poem from the fringe, however you define it.
Whatever you choose, please indicate your choice # somewhere on your post.
As a bonus challenge, please tell why you chose the one you did.