the wearing on the outside of the right shoe’s sole
made clear he had pain when he sat
one wondered if it was from his job
or some child hood fall
from a tree or a bike or
a deeper wound of abuse

and the other foot
whose toe evidenced scuff marks
a kind of dragging
as though from sadness
of caring a burden on one’s back
his satchel though invisible was full of hardship

it seemed best to let him walk
even though I wanted to offer a ride
a ride would have made the pain
of returning to the walk
more unbearable than the
moment of being burden free

a man who thought he was donkey
to his own misery
i realized he would not have fit in my car
somehow though we both understood that
without relieving each other
of our desire to keep moving
in the same direction