Lost Limbs

We spotted each other
simultaneously
each fixing the other
in his sights
at fifty paces

Head still and
gaze unbending
he slowly slid his hands
into flip-flops
and pressed palms down
against the sidewalk
elevating
his legless torso
and
rotating deliberately
to face me
as I crossed the intersection

I saw in his eyes
recognition of
our common generation
no judgment

I reached his corner
bent down
silently slid money
into his calloused hand
and walked away
on aching phantom legs

— Marcus Rediker
Ho Chi Minh City
Vietnam