A homeless man asked me to kill him today.
I didn’t know he was homeless at first.
There’s an illusion of democracy in the water-walking lane of the pool.
No dumpy clothes, and the cleanliness and chlorine.
And when we began to speak, we spoke with reason
And he didn’t seem particularly wide-eyed
As we spoke about culture mostly.
Literature, music, gentrification
And the United States’ attempt to overthrow
The government of Venezuela.
He spoke of the things he learned from his students
And I could tell he was a great teacher—
Brilliant, open-minded and humble—
The kind I wish I had had, or tried to be
And when our time in the pool was through,
I saw him limp over to the hot-tub
Where the retirees were making talk
About their day-to-day lives: their bodies,
Their gardens, their cars and their kids
And I saw him turn in on himself.
Outside, I saw him again. I tried to smile.
I could feel his shame. It kept my mind off mine.
I didn’t know what to say. I asked him
What he has planned for the day.
He said, he didn’t know. I shouldn’t have asked him
What would I say if he had asked me the same thing?
That’s when he asked me to kill him.
It was barely a whisper, but I could hear it.
I wanted to ask him the same thing.
A homeless man asked me to kill him today
And I’m not strong enough to do it.