City Scape

i stood outside
the dollar store
smoking a cigarette
knowing as soon as
i tossed the butt
the homeless guy behind me
would snatch it up
and it made me
somehow uneasy
his lips would be
where mine had once been
i shook one loose
from my pack
and held it out
to him
silent offering
a buffer
he declined
with a look of utmost suspicion
and turned away
anxiety abated
i flipped the stub
into the gutter
and pushed through
the glass doors
through the window
i caught sight of
that man
taking up my cigarette
and putting it
to his mouth
as he walked away

Copyright 2000  Bess Kemp


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