we were out for smokes
in a hot van, no air,
the steamy mid-summer;
windows down and
cassete tapes
and radio
an old model
in a digital age.
no dollars, no sense,
save for sensitivity.

we were out for smokes
and the sun beat a blister
in cerulean skies
deeper blisters on skin
but the breeze
from the windows down
ruffled our long hair
and faint beards
and we heard the tapes
rattle through punctured speakers.

and there’s an old man
with a sign
(I can’t remember what it said
or if he really was old but)
the old man with a sign that
spoke of some plight
probably his own
invention or
at best
his own devising
however unintentional
some just desert
from lack of gumption,
et cetera.

and we were out for smokes
but instinctively
the ratt-a-tat van
but there was honking
and I saw in my driver
something like pity
or God
In his eye
as he sped again and
a hundred yards down the highway
pulled in front of the tobacco store.

and I watched him
lifting from the seat
and patting at his backside
to check to see
if it was there.
and in the hot van
the window rolled but
the aid of breeze
no longer availing
I sweated as he
sweated more
jogging to the old man
by now out of sight.

I smoked one more and
thought of his Franciscan fervor
and then saw his figure rush once
more over the horizon.
and he went inside
and bought the cigarettes
and I don’t think we spoke
of his deed
but there were some
angels talking (I’m sure)
and God relished the story
with smiles.