Picking through the remains of his life,
and other people's thrown away
the old man in three coats, string tied,
made a find.
Fumbling with a newspaper,
he fashioned a parcel for his pocket,
and stumbled, happlily mumbling,
onto the chaos of the pavement.
A stubbled smile was a greeting
that most folk avoided, like bodily contact
or eye impact.
Fear of contagion bent their paths,
skewed their eyes.
When he'd passed,
they shook the sand out of their hair,
along with their ostrich mentality.
Just for now.