I'm on my way to Larry’s Place,
a food pantry in the city.
I park a block away because
parking in front of Larry’s
isn’t wise even if one drives
a clunker. My old Buick
almost qualifies as that.
It’s getting up in years
but still able to get around.
I’m wobbling in the middle of
two shopping bags of food
my wife found in our pantry.
Someone at Larry’s Place can
take it home and have a meal.
If they have a home. Not all do.
Certainly not the fellow sleeping
on the bench outside Larry’s
in a black body bag, the zipper
slightly ajar so he can breathe.
Lots of people go in and out
but no one bothers him.
I go in, drop off my bags and
exchange pleasantries with Larry.
He says business is too good.
He says the guy in the body bag
is a new arrival from out of town,
suggests I have a chat with him.
His story is remarkable, Larry says.
On the way out I see the fellow
in the body bag is sitting up.
I give him five bucks
and he asks if I want to hear
the story about his body bag.
I say I’d like to but I’m rushed,
that I’ll be back tomorrow with
my notebook and camera and
I’ll pay him. After all, everyone
has to make a living. Or find
their food at Larry’s Place.
Donal Mahoney lives in St. Louis, Missouri.