Tuesday, November 22, 2016

A Thin Line

They gather by the river. A public space, it doesn't have as much of the "move along" ethos as the convenience store, strip mall, or street corner. They use the bathroom, the water fountain, the picnic tables. Often, the tell-tale tattoos up the arms, across the back, and collaring the neck spell out prison time. That's a hard one to shake, so the shirts usually stay on. They travel on beat-up bikes, piled high with duffels, sleeping bags, water bottles. Sometimes they travel with shopping carts or a simple back pack. They fill in the cracks left by affluence on the move. Stories follow them, drive them forward. Some have vacant stares, others are wary. Mostly, they wander the arroyos with a hope to blend in, invisible as possible. A thin line separates them from me. I wonder if the crack will open so wide that I might fall through, becoming another ghost on the river path. The stories I tell will decide.

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