A man walks into the Writing Center. He wears ragged jeans, a tattered stocking cap, half of a cigarette tucked behind his ear. Around his neck hang layers of wooden beads, braided hemp, and an embellished silver crucifix. His teeth are yellow. He smells like sweat and smoke and piss.
His notebook is weathered but his handwriting immaculate; he needs help with his autobiography. ‘Hobo Metaphysics’ chronicles life on the streets: Hitchhiking cross-country. Heroine overdoses. Sexual violence. PTSD. Dinner from a dumpster. He writes of friendship and love and spiritual transcendence.
I read aloud, pausing: “You need a comma after ‘homeless’.”