He stops me on the train. He has a story—
He lost his left arm in Afghanistan
then lost his trailer when the military
quit sending checks, he blames Barack Hussein
who made him place his kids in foster care.
He’s diabetic, has PTSD—
he needs his meds, whatever I can spare,
however much my freedom’s worth to me.
I say excuse me and try to push past.
He tugs the drawstring of his stopgap belt—
one squinting eye tears up (leaking or crying),
his matted goatee flecks with spit like salt.
I pat my pockets—I don’t carry cash.
He grins and says he knows when someone’s lying.
Brian Brodeur is the author of the poetry collections Self-Portrait with Alternative Facts (2019), Natural Causes (2012) and Other Latitudes (2008), as well as the poetry chapbooks Local Fauna (2015) and So the Night Cannot Go on Without Us (2007). New poems and essays appear in American Poetry Review, Hopkins Review, Kenyon Review, Pleiades, and The Writer’s Chronicle. Founder and Editor of the digital interview archive How a Poem Happens as well as the Veterans Writing Workshop of Richmond, Indiana, Brian lives with his wife and daughter in the Whitewater River Valley. He teaches at Indiana University East.