Walking in My World While White

The man on the curb
with his socks pulled up high,
a Swisher Sweet parked in his mouth,

(no mask)

tells his friend in the car
that he wants to see this dog,
my dog, asks me what kind she is

then tells me

I don’t mean you no harm
I don’t mean you no harm

at least those two times, as if
I am making a silent calculation of risk
and whether I need to ruin his day

or end his life

by calling to say that I’m scared,
there’s just something off about him
my cellphone as weapon, deadlier

than anything he has
unless he has COVID
(but I only think of that


this morning I step forward,
say I know you don’t, twice,
at least (through my mask),

so he can pet my dog
and we can move along,
that much closer to 2021

and all it might bring us.


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