He Waits

He waits,
The smallest increase in heartbeat,
A tiny recognition in the eye,
A minor tightening of my cheeks,
– Not yet full control,
Time for that, though,
Lots of time.


And approaches the car,
Nothing to sell,
Nothing to offer,
No tools of the trade,
Just a dirty sweatshirt,
Jeans, shoes, no socks,
Black, black eyes,
And a blank, dead, stare,
Under black, black hair.


But I am a foreigner,
And hence potential,
Using only the sleeve of his shirt,
He starts to clean the windows.


First the front.
He’s making a mess,
Worse than it was before,
And then a side,
Now he’s barely inches from me,
Separated by glass,
Everything locked though,
Windows, doors,
This is not my first time, you see.


My face is fixed,
Though my heart beats faster than I’d let on.
I stare straight ahead,
Looking for a place where the boy is not,
As though an old hand,
If I am not here,
Then how can I be bothered?
But he doesn’t know my rules,
And instead, plays by his own.


First a hand thrust out towards me,
And then a banging on the window,
I shake my head,
A connection,
Of sorts,
Seems to offer him some inspiration,
Banging harder now,
And what now! Something new!
He head-butts the window with anger!
Real or invented – or both?


And he’s got my attention,
But a car moves ahead,
And there is space for me,
To move,
And I do.


And so I progress,
Towards the checkpoint,
Towards the welcome of trigger-fingered black machine guns.


And he leaves,
Punching my mirror –
A rental anyway,
And I don’t care,
Because I am free of him,
For today.


Two days, in fact,
And then,
Same place,
He’s here,
Same act,
Does he recognise me?


I recognise him,
The head butting – he seems deranged,
Today, a little thinner,
Than the others,
Again nothing to sell.
I make my way.


And then again.
This time, though,
He’s just sitting by the road,
And I am through,
Free of the contact,
Free of facing myself.


I play with actually giving,
The money that he wants,
Maybe five Nis,
– Though he will ask for more,
Would ask for more if I gave him fifty!


But next time,
And the time after,
Does not come,
He has gone,
Back to the camp?


Your guess, my friend,
Is as good as mine.

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