When the Man Opened the Door for Me

This incident happened two weeks ago, still a heart opener! We never know how our kindness touches others!

When the Man Opened the Door for Me

Perhaps because it came on the heels
of another man who cursed and shook his fists
when he thought I was pulling out in front of him
in the grocery store parking lot.
Even when I raised my palm in apology,
the pink faced person in his muscle car roared
as though I had spat upon his kingdom,
as my car inched a few feet forward,
he unleashed a lineage of lashing.

The next man, at the grocery store entrance,
went out of his way in an opposite display,
as my footfalls fell outside the range
of any accepted civil arc.
I, who hold a door ajar,
for any person of sex or age,
wouldn’t have paused the extra heartbeats.

My hair was greasy that morning,
my clothes unflattering, it was not flirtation,
he did not meet my gaze,
it was not out of deference or duty,
he was neither humble nor proud.
Simple he was and yet,
his being-ness affected me profoundly.

The second fellow was shorter than I,
of East Island descent,
unattractive, lowly even,
I speak of race and social standing
because it does and doesn’t matter.
So much I will never know-
about the men’s relationships with
fathers and mothers,
rejection or warmth from lovers,
their blows and lows.
I try to consider the soil,
and then the substrate.

I hope my own sons,
my boys who are blessed
with relative affluence-
looks and stature,
who are handsome and will get some,
I pray they have both strength and humility,
that they will pause and do for others,
be familiar with the cogs of caring.

I am still talking about it,
telling everyone I know about the two incidences,
considering the spectrum of social spoils,
looking at what I too dole out-
Reverence or Rash.
I tossed the first man's anger
like greasy wrappers.
For the door opener,
I am still enjoying the banquet he laid before me,
looking how best to honor him.