January 24

I was about to be mugged by a man
with a chain so angry he growled
at the Lincoln Center subway station
when out of nowhere appeared a tall
chubby-faced Hasidic Jew with peyot
and a black hat a black coat white shirt
with prayer-shawl fringes showing
we walked together out of the station
and when we got outside and shook hands
I noticed he was blind. Goodbye,
I said, as giddy as a man waking
from an anesthetic in the recovery room,
happy, with a hard-on. The cabs were
on strike on Broadway so beautiful
a necklace of yellow beads
I breathed in the fumes impossibly happy

by David Lehman

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