On the Sunshine of Our Lives and the Beauty of These Summer Days Spent in the City

Photograph by Jose Padua
At the Port Authority bus station
in New York City
my daughter watches
as the tall strange man
with the tin foil wrapped
around the short braids of hair
on his head takes a cross-eyed portrait
of himself with his phone
while he stands in the doorway
of a coffee shop down from
the Greyhound ticket counter.
When she asks me if I see him
because she needs to be reassured
from time to time that every
bit of life we witness is real,
I tell her, “Yes, I saw him too,”
and I’m glad to sense that
what she feels is more sadness
than fear because here’s
a man so lost in his own
world there’s no way to count
the miles it would take to get back
to a place where his feet could
once again touch solid earth.
And though what I feel
at times like this is far from joy
I find myself lifted because
fear is like a slow gathering
of suspicions that are never
answered and we get on our bus
and ride like history down wide,
dirty rivers toward toward all
the beautiful things that
need to be brought back
into our lives.

-Jose Padua

Photograph by Jose Padua

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