NaPoWriMo Day 9

the old man in front of target
is probably homeless
probably–i don’t know
haven’t seen him before
he isn’t holding a sign
or asking for anything

as quickly as he appears
he disappears
out of sight
out of mind
but when i enter the store
he fills my nostrils
human stink so arresting
i stop breathing

i wonder
how can someone smell
this bad
i wonder
how small can my mind be
that i run into this
like it’s a wall

we browse the same aisles
he carries a plastic bag
stuffed with other plastic bags
is he planning
on shoplifting
that’s where my head goes
a train on a track
because i suck
he walks past
the refrigerated dairy

part of me dares the target employees
or another customer to try
–just try–
to usher him along or out
part of me that knows it should be on fire
part of me made bitter on dregs of self-directed wrath
part of me that knows someone should speak for this man

that part of me doesn’t to spring into action
he is invisible
unless you count the smell
he might as well not be here
might as well be somewhere else
or nowhere else
or someone else
except
he is right there

by the time i check out
i am sick on my own shame