I saw the ghost of Perry Smith on the bus.
It was near Christmas.
No snow yet, just cold rain –
the kind that always finds a way to your bones.
I heard him talking to himself.
He said he was going downtown
with just his guitar
to sit down on some street corner
or in front of a store
and maybe get some coins thrown his way.
He sounded angry,
maybe homeless once again.
I was not afraid.
I sat still,
holding my breath – I don’t know –
maybe there are no ghosts and no rebirths,
and after all, the story was still too fresh in my mind.
But he had the profile, and the hair,
and something else – the thing in his eyes –
like iron, like venom, like hate.
No holiness that evening, no angels in disguise.
Just rain and mud, strange elbows in my sides
and the ghost of Perry Smith on a dirty old ride.