Pedestrian by Meaghan Elliott

In Xiaoshan

he toes the section of sidewalk

designed for keeping blind men on track.

It is uneven beneath his feet,

like a barcode in cement;

his instep has gotten used to the rough

and has worn a callous.

He stops at a street food vendor,

pays three Yuan for grilled lotus root,

spits out the grains of dirt.

A young boy on a bicycle clips his elbow

and his feet veer just inches off the track.

The tattered scarf around his neck

gestures a summons, the frayed ends

curling upward in a humid breeze;

but he needs no help. After all these years

he still thinks he can see,

that this liberty has not been lost.

He knows when he leaves the north street,

when he crosses the bridge,

when the traffic is heavy.

The scents of piss and stale gardens,

feeling the city walk past him,

and the night market booming low bids,

he doesn’t need to be told it is Thursday.

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Categories: Issue 1 - Fall 2011, Periodicals, Poetry | Leave a comment

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