“to calm a stranger” by Sasha on her couch

Tuesday February 19, 2019
10:02pm
5 minutes
Walking at Night
Elizabeth Poliner

A man is screaming in the alley behind the house. I usually avoid that place, where we used to find syringes and condoms. It’s not like that anymore, not usually, but I’m still wary. The man swears and yells, and I wonder what in me overrides the basic human call to comfort someone in need. What if this were a woman? Would it be different? What if I were a man? Would it be different? I peek out the window and see him, bike leaned against a garage, pants wet from the snow. He doesn’t see me.

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