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Hesitation by Anca Vlasopolos
published in Volume 12, Issue 1 on November 12th, 2006

      He scraped the pavement, moved in a spiral it seemed.
      His body an exclamation point
      with the wonder crushed out of it.
      The thin cane, wand more than cane, antenna more than wand,
      reached out, struck, and the body
      recoiled from forward inertia like a snail,
      the seeing horns rolling themselves within.
      Out of him a voice: "Hello? Is anybody there?" And
      I found myself afraid to speak, as if speech would draw
      me into that world.
      The question, harmless, "Is this the bus stop,"
      lingered in the air long after the short answer, the thanks,
      the acknowledgment.
      There was a time, wasn't there?
      There was,
      when one look at the blind cripple
      would have hurled me over where he stood,
      when to his hello unfurling tentatively
      in the void I would have uttered
      without missing a beat, our voices
      a continuum, a bridge.

      Now that small pause between, my hesitation,
                  trails me like a bur stuck to the skin

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