“Roses for sale five dollars a bunch.” The hand-lettered sign proclaims from his station across the street from the local train depot where weary travelers head to work in a blur of colors and odors. He’s there still for the five o’clock rush, patient with his flowers, pacing off the cold, a steaming cup of coffee warming his hands.
Even on Sunday, he huddles beneath his beach umbrella as we cross the tracks late for church, cursing the signal lights and the candy cane arm that swings down before us. A driver slows and waits by the side of the road for The Rose Man to dash up with a bouquet before speeding away at the last second.
I acknowledge The Rose Man with a nod of my head as the train blasts through. He looks me in the eye; refuses my sympathy. Thickened stems caress crumpled bills through fingerless gloves. "Where can he find roses in December?" I ask as the candy cane arm lifts and we proceed to church, passing him again on the way after. I put my hand to the glass, little fingerprints reaching out but not quite touching the lovely snowman as he sells his wares on a frosty December Sunday.
Labels: poetry, Write on Edge