Back to Leah Presser's Artist PageTo the Artist's Page     Back to the Unlikely Stories home pageTo our home page
A Kid in a BoxTo Leah Presser's next piece

Sidewalk Tragedy

Amid the car horns and sidewalk chatter,
an old bum collapsed, gasping for air.
He stretched out a gnarled hand,
eyes burgeoning with fear,
as a man reading a paper stepped around.

I thought to administer mouth to mouth.
My knees locked and I gawked,
trying to recall life-saving maneuvers,
wondering, is there no one else who knows these things,
wasting precious time,
until his eyes rolled back, his hand dropped to his chest
and his whiskey-blood stopped flowing forever.

For days I told everyone about the tragedy,
how disconcerting it was to watch
the life ebb out of the bum's dirty face,
to be a helpless spectator in the face of certain death.
I never said how grateful I was
to be spared from having to bend down,
breathe in his body odor
or press my lips to his.

To the top of this pageTo the top of this page