Silent flakes drift down in a stately pavane,
a white blanket curdling across the floor of the alley where I sit. On the
other side of the avenue where streetlamps form angelic halos, poor chilled
souls in line at the mission patiently wait to be stripped of any remaining
vestiges of dignity. I hear the soft strains of the hymns of salvation and
grace coming from behind the frosted windows where dinner awaits all
whove agreed to surrender to the rules.
I spot a small rat who peeks out from the
shadows of a corner and lifts his head to listen to the voices. No doubt
hell soon smell the aroma of this hunk of bologna I recently filched.
Should I share with him? A frigid wind races down the wall of the tenement
behind me and nips my hands and cheeks before wafting the smell of the meat
over to my new friend. From the twitch of his whiskers, I sense he is now
aware of what I have. With nothing but time on my hands, I reach out toward him
with a small tidbit Im sure will please him. My pulse quickens at his
cautious approach. Streetwise and wary of strangers, he stops and cants his
head as if to say, can I trust you. Realizing he will approach no
further, I toss him a nibble. He soon takes his newfound treasure and scurries
away into the deep shadows of discarded boxes and detritus.
I notice the snow now rushing down at a
blinding pace and I realize my coat is a bit thinner than Id thought.
Shall I boldly walk over to the mission and declare my sins in public
contrition? My cheeks and hands feel a stiffness brought on by the cold night
air. And like a fresh hit for an addict, my eyes droop as sweet slumber creeps
up on my soul.
The morning sun will bring new opportunities
for hot oatmeal and biscuits as well as a temporary thaw. Will I offer a
sad smile and drop my head in humble confession? Perhaps the smell of hot
coffee will mesmerize my tongue into forging a temporary truce. The new snow,
whipped up by a wind from the nearby sea, advances over my shoes, my coat, and
my longshoremans hat. Frost tiptoes in with a quiet, wicked numbness and
I sense a new warmth
I know it is not really there. Will I
encounter the winter promise of good friends in harmony on the morrow? Perhaps
well bide our time, me and my little friend, whos so hungry
hes now decided to timidly advance in my direction.