Our eyes meet over a $20 bill
thrust through my car window
into his freezing fingers.
His other hand waves a paper sign
scrawled with homeless veteran.
A cloud of his frozen breath
dims a faint smile
and a fainter thanks.

I don’t want to deal
with whatever brought him here,
whatever nightmares rage
behind those blue eyes.
I chalk it up to drugs, alcohol,
whatever I can blame on him.

The stop light changes and we melt
into a maze of chrome and exhaust fumes.
I shuck him off like ill-fitting clothes,
relieved that I forgot to chirp
have a nice day.