Poetry

The Commute

Morning after morning for the past two and a half years, I walk down the same street to get to work,  and then I walk back in the afternoon.  Read More

Morning after morning for
the past two and a half years,
I walk down the same street
to get to work,  and then
I walk back in the afternoon. 

I leave my apartment at 5:15 a.m.
So I can get to work by 5:45 a.m
So I can eat breakfast by 6:00 a.m.
Which is when my shift starts.

Every morning and
Every afternoon
I walk down the same street
One long road with no twists or
Turns. N HIGH ST until it becomes
S HIGH ST. I do this five days a week. 

Every day is the same. Only with slight
Changes. A theme and variations.
It’s tiring always walking, but
Not so bad. The world is quiet at
5 in the morning, there’s hardly
Ever anyone to bother me, the
Only cars are for the early risers
And the others also going to work
Before the sun rises, like me. 

Every day the shadows ebb and flow
Like waves hitting the shoreline,
Light and dark battle for control
As the sun slowly begins to rise.
I enjoy this spectacle while listening
To music, or a podcast, or an audiobook.
The world around me never bothers me
Because I always have my earbuds. 

Except one morning I didn’t have them,
Because I left them in my work locker
Over the weekend. I was mad,
For one morning I had to walk to work
In silence with just me and my thoughts and
God. 

So I left my apartment at 5:15 a.m.
Without anything to listen too,
My walk was about the same,
The theme was the shadows and
The light. The variation however…

I was at the corner of S HIGH ST and
E Miner ST, when I saw a man slowly
Walking with a limb. I felt anxiety,
It’s 5:30 a.m., there’s never anyone out
Except for the joggers. I put my head down,
Staring at the pavement and hoping he would
Pass. 

The man called out to me and asks
“Do you have a phone?”
For a split second I wanted to lie and say
“No.”
But i
n 2022 that’s a bold lie. 

“I need 911” he said exasperated.
I pause, my heart softens.
I can’t lie now.
“My chest hurts and I can’t breathe.
I feel bad man. I feel bad.
I feel bad.”
“Hold on.” I stammer, we were
In the middle of the crosswalk so
I helped walk him over to the side of a building. 

I dial 911, my voice is shaking,
“Hello I was walking to work and
This man asked me to call 911,
I don’t know who he is, but he
Said his chest hurts and that
He can’t breathe, that he’s
Having trouble breathing.”

We went through the standard procedure.
I handed the man my phone so
he could give the dispatcher
necessary information. I admit I was information.  
worried that his limb would miraculously go away,
But I handed him my phone.
I sat him down on a bench as instructed by
The dispatcher. “Are you going to wait
With him until the ambulance arrives or
Keep going?” the Dispatcher asked.

It was 5:45 a.m. and I probably was
Going to be late for work. But the man said
“You can go.”
“Are you sure?” I asked.
“Yes.” He paused. “Thank you and God bless you.” 

“You know sir, this will sound silly, but
I lost my earbuds and would have
Probably kept walking if I had them.”

The man looked at me and said,
“Romans 8:28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him,
who have been called according to his purpose.”

And so,
As instructed,
I kept going.
Looking behind I saw the ambulance
And paramedics.
He was found.
As I kept walking the street stretched out before me,
All began to fade into the shadows
I lingered, looking back.
I turned my head forward
Soon the sun would rise,
Glimmers of light yawned over the horizon.
For as many times that I’ve walked
This same path over and over
And over again,
For a brief moment as shadow mixed with light,
I couldn’t recognize the world I thought I knew.
I continued onward and
I even made it to work on time. 

 

 

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