A Short Story by Alice Clark
Written using the suggestion "Solipsism"
Originally featured on 09-22-2009
As part of our series "Falling Into the Abyss of Wordiness"

When I sit on the grass, not the sidewalk, but the grass, I am closer to the ground and it feels more stable I stand and move my clothes, to cover me more and then I am hidden. I hold my sign and hope that something finds my hunger, to stop it. I am my hunger. I watch the feasting cars go by, quietly humming while they eat their gas.

One man gave me eighty five cents today and I didn’t know whether to be insulted or grateful. This token gift to me, the mystic. I am the one who doesn’t follow systems and the one who believes I should be fed by others. Maybe he finds it insensitive that I eat off his work. Sometimes I hold the sign that says, “Will work for food” because sometimes people like that one better, because I’m not eating off their work, but asking to join them in the cause of working for it.

At the Goodwill, I go in, looking cold and ask for clothes and they clothe me and I’m held in that system The one that covers open skin. Everyone wants me to join their group, to be covered, and I do, because it hurts less to be covered than to be bare.

I always chose. The hot coffee or the free blankets. Never both.

Once a man offered for me to be in a program. Something to transition me to be less alone and less in the open. I told him no, that I was afraid that the hunger and bareness would disappear, and I would just be a man in a system, more naked than when I was born.

Read More By Alice Clark

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