He was walking slow. Sun beaten by another dog day on the highway. A scorcher. Torn and scattered clouds offering little shade comfort. I saw him from a distance as he sat down on the guardrail. Looking worn out. Scant possessions in a knotted garbage bag between his legs. Head down. Blue, long-sleeved shirt and dark pants. Black hair, slick and glistening. Dyed. I’ve seen the years carved into his tanned face. Small bright eyes staring straight ahead as he tells his story. Seen the hand with one crushed, one missing finger that he hides in a pocket.

He disappears come fall. Sits in a room somewhere in New Brunswick or Cape Breton waiting out the winter. Every year since we met, I watch for him. Hoping. Not quite sure what I’m hoping for.


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