10-Line Tuesday

December 8, 2015

counting on it

He delivers water to Manhattan's well-heeled office workers, jostling daily 
for a spot near Times Square. His schedule is full of hard-line appointments,
and yet, he always steals two minutes from the clock to stop at the corner bodega
for a scratch-off ticket, his heart on the grand prize. When I pass him on the sidewalk,
he is bent into the small acreage of that glittery card, grazing the surface with the soft edge
of a thumbnail, and despite his starched and belted uniform, a plume of innocence
rises from his heavy shoulders and settles on the dirty street like a dusting of new snow.
I hold my breath and look back, wishing for the light touch of luck to land somewhere close,
counting on it, even, as traffic blitzes past the man and the story cups in his hands,
a pure and tender flame he refuses to put out.