At the corner, I felt a presence and turned around. The man with roses was walking toward me very fast. The rose heads bobbed up and down against his chest, and I thought of a dozen bareheaded babies. “I know you,” I heard him saying. “We’ve met.”
I did not rule this out. I have lived in New York only three years but have had many memorable encounters with strangers. More than once, I have had the same taxi driver twice. The man stopped in front of me and stared into my eyes, as if trying to read my mind. Then his eyes brightened. “Did I write a poem for you?” he said.
I stared back, searching my memory. A curtain lifted: Winter, 2009. Two in the morning. A snowstorm. I get out of a cab at Seventh and Christopher, and see a man on the corner. I give him the five bucks left from my cab fare. He thanks me but says he never takes something for nothing. All he can give me is a poem in return. He gives me a list of options ...of course, you must read the whole thing.