He settles into his stride,
Crossing at the crosswalk as all good citizens do.
His half-cocked smile, his knowing, grey eyes,
Catch me in mid-glimpse as I stop my car.
He is, after all, crossing legally.
This man, with haughty dignity
And days of dirt on his face, beard, and clothes,
Advises me silently that someone important
Is crossing my path.
I understand fully. I must stop my car.
His jackets look impacted with his life,
Filled, I’m certain, with more clothes, booze,
And tiny bits of memorabilia about which,
If someone else ever found them,
Would have no meaning.
One item screams for my attention:
A brand new pack of Marlboro cigarettes.
It’s a pack of golds.
This gentleman, and I use the word specifically,
Holds them proudly, tightly along with his 49-cent, red lighter.
Could this brand new pack of cigarettes
Be the reason for his cock-surety?
Could his new-found abundance be the reason
I’ve clearly been put in my place?
I did, after all, stop the car when he tacitly demanded I do so.
I suspect that it is not just the cigarettes.
I suspect it is much more.
In his mind – in his world – he is king.
He needn’t receive others’ adulation or affirmation.
He knows who he is.
This proud pack of cigarettes is simply the scepter
Of a royal with sequoia posture and
Fern-like outgrowth on his face.
“Stop the car. Let me pass,” he glances.
“Gladly, my liege.” I obey.