Jason Hardung


THE GUY IN THE RED HAT

A guy younger than me
in a red stocking hat
comes out of the cold and
sits on the couch in the coffee shop.
His legs are tightly crossed,
so are his arms
his chin to his chest-
a cold bird high
in a tree with no leaves.
His mouth hangs open
from his pale face
thin rimmed glasses holding back eyes
that fixate on the wooden floor
slowly drifting in and out of consciousness.
A plastic grocery bag
full of his belongings sits next to him.
People go on around him
like he has always been there.

I always wanted to be an artist
so I could paint life like this.
My hand never steady enough
to trace man’s inner conflict.
I always wanted to be able to sing
so people would listen.
I wanted to be God
but I’m scared of water.
I want to buy this guy a cup of coffee
and get his story
but I don’t
I just type and look
over at him
and every once in awhile
he looks at me and wonders
what my
problem is.

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