The man from 4 doors down chain smokes as he laps the neighborhood and I can’t help but stare. He’s in the same clothes he’s worn everyday since Sunday and his fly is down, just like every day since Sunday and I wonder if he knows or if he even cares.
Maybe he’s unzipped his fly on purpose. Maybe he’s some pervert looking to get a rise. Maybe he’s mentally ill.
My thoughts run wild with each lap he takes until my face flushes with shame.
I’m embarrassed to live here.
I’m embarrassed to see him.
And I’m ashamed I can’t muster up one zing of emotion other than disgust.
I’ve learned the rhythms in this place I call home.
I’ve learned the comings and goings and the never to come back again.
I’ve learned the sit and stay ones and the come by to use only the phone ones.
I’ve learned who lives where and who stays where and who used to live where.
I’ve learned who has daddies and who has grandmothers and who seems to have nobody.
I’ve learned who sells what to whom and who sells herself for a line of coke and I’ve learned why they sell what they sell.
I’ve learned that most kids here are more afraid of dogs than the man with his pants down around his ankles.
I’ve learned hardly anyone has a pot worth peeing in and mostly no one wants anyone to know it.
And I’ve learned that my eyes scarcely know what to do with the things they see.
The air hangs damp and heavy early in the evening and yet I’m drawn to the porch.
It’s like an altar these days, and I’m bent low spending time there.
The rockers sit next to one another and the swing sways low at one end and I watch the morning rise from the other.
During the day, I watch people, looking for which way I should walk.
And at night, I watch nothing.
I only listen.
For in the dark, I’m able to lay myself down and hear how I should walk.
I’m drawn to my makeshift altar again tonight, to lay down and listen to the things I know without seeing.
The soft whirring of the moped one street over is soothing and the fireflies flicker their light.
And all I hear is what I know:
Jesus died for this place and He is here.
For what appears to be like night, is always pregnant with Light.