On Thursdays he came, peddling his wares
packed in an old grocery cart
squeaking all the way down the hall
to our offices, his toothless mouth a-grin,
tattered overalls hanging on his frame.
We gave him fifty cents for peanuts,
bypassed the cabbages and the corn.
Consumed with deadlines,
we didn't offer more.
Three weeks straight he didn't come.
Then we heard he had died
in a VA hospital.
We didn't know about the cancer;
I guess we never asked.
I wish I'd felt his pain,
seen the loneliness in his eyes,
bought his cabbages and his corn.
Copyright © 1993 Ruth Gillis
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