Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Farmer's market

he’s collapsed at the top 

of the steps I am climbing

flopped like a fish on a dock 

not pretty

not a good smell

not a good look


lured by concern

while simultaneously repulsed 

I drew slightly near

was he breathing

eyes barely open, protesting the bright sun

he groaned

got any money

no sorry I don’t 

I hurried away

so easily rationalized

I’m not fishing for money in my purse right 

on a street in the midst of everyone

I’m not taking that bait



should I have?

do I have any cash on me

I would never miss the money

let’s be serious

it wasn’t about my purse

I instantaneously shut him down

cast him off

tossed empathy aside

reeled in  


as if 

I know his needs better than he does

I am blessed to know 

how he swims

who am I?

what if the next dollar he gets is his way 

out of this insufferable tangled net he is trapped within

what if he was laying there 

dreaming of release 

kale spinach onions potatoes radishes

bag ‘em

head back to the steps

he is standing now

our eyes meet

he says

you have beautiful hair


It's Tuesday and I am participating in the
 Slice of Life.  
Thank you, Two Writing Teachers, for creating this supportive community 
of teacher-writers!


  1. Thank you for sharing your poetry today!

  2. I wanted to read this because I've been so in the mood to go to the Farmers Market... and now having read it, I am startled by the raw truth in this. I too have decided NOT to give before, and it always haunts me. Thank you for sharing this.

  3. Maureen,
    I’m so late to comment on your beautiful poem. I read it last Tuesday and searched for words. Nothing seems sufficient. That last line is a gut punch, an unexpected kindness after he experienced rejection. What you describe here is common: a desire to help intertwined w/ not wanting to be gullible. I’ve been trying to care less about playing the fool in these situations and to trust a desire to be kind.