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Crying Man

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The Hold

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Friday
Jun112010

Crying Man

At O’Hare, after a first jump west to California,
I thought my father was dying, as I waited

for the connecting flight.  Being hungry
I ate pizza with the people eating pizza.  

Feeling uninformed, I bought newspapers,
opened magazines at a bookshop wall.  

Near my gate, I pretended not to watch
a dozen others waiting, as they pretended

not to watch me.  But finally, in a hectic airport
restroom, I heard the crying man in his stall.

Oh God, he cried, behind a stained steel door.  
He didn’t sound old. And in his privacy, not shy.

Oh Dear God, rang harshly in the close tiled room.  
I stood alongside others, a simple traveler

at a public urinal.  Behind me the restless waited
their turns.  Oh dear life came the third cry.  

I shook myself, zipped, found a vacant sink for washing.  
Spurting water dwindled to a trickle on my hands.

I lathered and rinsed as I’d been taught.  Grabbed
for paper towel.  Didn’t linger at the mirror.