I didn’t look.
Stopped at the end of the freeway ramp,
on my way,
I didn’t look at the person
standing by the side of the road
with a sign.
I didn’t see him, not at all.
Not looking is second nature these days,
when someone is asking for help by the side of the road.
And so, I did not look.
No need for the shrug, the nod, the single index finger lifted off the steering wheel
or the wan half-smile of acknowledgment, lips pursed.
But dang, that red light was a long one,
and finally, I looked.
It was a real human being. “Hey, I know that guy!”
I rolled down my window. We shook hands.
“I hope you don’t think less of me for doing this,” he said, ashamed.
“Not at all, bro,” I assure him.
Red light turns green, and I go on, circumspect.
How could I not see him? My homeless friend.
I just didn’t look. Shame on me.