Panhandler Spencer Smith Poetry

local_library Panhandler

by Spencer Smith

Published in Issue No. 248 ~ January, 2018

He stands on the corner holding a sign;

the words are not important.


Pale eyes find me through his own reflection

in the drawbridge of my window


that I refuse to lower,

keeping a moat of air between us.


His gaze has grasped my face

the same way his hands are grasping


the thin shield of cardboard,

and I cannot turn away.


Somehow I know he does not expect the money

I have long ago chosen to withhold from him—


he seeks only acknowledgement,

a slight dip of my jutting chin,


and I give it to him, reluctantly,

and he smiles in gracious victory


as the light changes and my vehicle rolls forward

slow as a wooden wagon.


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Spencer Smith is a University of Utah graduate and works in the corporate world to pay the bills that poetry doesn’t pay (i.e., all of them). His work has appeared in over forty literary journals, including Main Street Rag, Potomac Review, Plainsongs, RHINO, and Roanoke Review.