by Justin Danzy
He needed money for shoes,
his heel bruised and bulging
out the back of his sock.
He showed it to us, his foot,
placed it on the table near an omelette.
It was an ugly foot, all ashy and calloused
and crooked-toed. His achilles thickened
with scar; his pinky toenail missing.
He needed money for shoes, Isaac,
with his factory worker feet, his clothes ragged
like a sharecropper. He was from Chicago
and a spiritual man, he said, his brothers
named Abraham and Methuselah. A half-sister
named Faith. He needed money for shoes
and a job and a prayer group. We had none of it,
our prayers stale and mechanic, pockets shallow.
I showed him mine so he’d believe, Isaac,
a spiritual man, his foot causing
the coffee’s surface to ripple, which it did
even after he set his foot down
and ambled into the morning light,
his backpack with the broken strap
slung around him like armor, his foot ugly
and exposed, like his black gums
when he said he loved me
and reached both hands towards mine
so he could hold them.