The man on the path

I met a man some time ago.

He had a slight smile

and a sad face—wrinkled and

tugged by time.


He looked up at me when I dropped

my  coin and extended the

curlicue of his smile

and I felt the weight of his gratitude.


I paused a moment to note the

number of pieces in his hoard:

there were three coins alongside mine—

the outcome of a full day’s work.


He saw me look;

he sensed my gaze,

and his worn ruddy face

sparked with light.


“What is it that you seek?”

he said,

“What do you want to know

about life?”


I gazed at him stunned,

for who was he to speak

from such a place

on the dusty forlorn path?


“There are four coins here,

and that is enough,”

he said, as if tracing my thoughts

with his insistent smile.


“You have added to my day.”