It could have been hilarity, it could even have been rage,
that bellowing that rang out across the busy street—
It could have been a woman, it could have been a child—
I could have turned my head to see, but
so intent was I on dodging filthy mounds of snow,
and the pleading eyes of panhandlers sprawled against the wall—
But then he lurched across the street, through traffic willy-nilly,
and collapsed, fetal-like, against a rank of rental bikes.
I doubled back and whipped out my phone as he uncoiled,
kicking out so hard that bikes toppled like dominoes.
—Yes, the corner of Ellsworth and Fenton
—Yes, he’s breathing
—Yes, I will wait ‘til they arrive
Squatting, I grasped his fist.
—Can you tell me your name?
—It’s going be all right, help is on the way…
Then he kicked, again, again, spinning himself on his hip,
and three more bikes went over. I stood aside to give him space,
as a man in business dress caught the action on his camera.
And yes, of course I stayed, until some lanky boys in blue
sauntered from their ambulance, snapping on their rubber gloves.
One even knew the man, and called him by his name. Then
the crowd began to leave,
and I went on my way,
in search of sprouting daffodil—
knowing they’re weeks away.