Downtown
by J.R. Solonche


For how many half-sane years do you think
must he have cursed the world
for him to now, half-crazed, bless it,

as he wandered the streets
in his satin skullcap and gray suit
too large and fraying at every edge,

all the buttons gone from the vest,
the fly open, a rope holding up the pants,
this hybrid holy man, part rabbi,

part itinerant friar, mumbling -- what?
benedictions? – inarticulate into the back
of the neck of the air, mouthing – what?

prayers? – into the ears of the storefronts,
into the eyes of the traffic signals,
into the mouths of the sewer grates?

He sees me in my car as I wait at the light.
He gives me his sign. I give him
my countersign. Right hand raised,

thumb and pinky finger folded
into the palm, our trinities cross.
One half-blesses me. One half-blesses him.






Copyright 2019 by Red River Review. First Rights Reserved. All other rights revert to the authors.
No work may be reproduced or republished without the express written consent of the author.