An old man is sitting on a bench.
Behind him a couple walks by and the woman,
Because the old man’s clothes are a bit rumpled,
His hair beneath his old cap needs a trim, and
His shoes are scuffed, wants to give the man some money
But her husband hurries her along.
In the background is the façade of a building
That could be a prison.
The old man, Fred Wirth, is not in need of anything – money, food, a home or friends. He has all of those things and more. He has thirty-five dollars in his billfold and seventy-eight cents in change. Although it has not added much to his financial well-being, he has recently published a volume of his poems. For breakfast his wife cooked him an omelet filled with spinach and peppers fresh from her garden, bacon, toast and tea. His gray hair hadn’t had a trim and his shoes are scuffed because he hadn’t bothered with these things; he is bigger problems.
Being sixty-five years old entitles him to the benefits of social Security checks and Medicare health care coverage. Ann, his wife of forty-one years, has pressed him, to “Just sign up, Freddy. No one has questioned your papers before. If there is any problem we’ll deal with it.”