he enters the church basement where the food is given out
he quietly moves toward a corner seat

as he makes his way
he notices a half-filled book shelf

he makes a selection
he carries it with him

as he seats himself and rests
he examines the book

he eyes the binding
he takes in the vintage scent

he opens the book and fans the pages
there is a smile upon his face

the food is ready to be served
as he rises he tucks the book under his arm
and he makes his way to the counter

upon his return
he sets everything just right
and he slowly digests both the food and the contents of the pages

the smile is deeper now

after he has eaten
he closes the book
and returns it to its place among the others

he exits slowly into the vast darkness that is his everyday

tonight he is homeless
but not alone

Paul Cech has been writing poetry since 1970. Several of his poems have been published as Saturday Poems in the Pittsburgh- Post Gazette and the Thomas Merton Center of Pittsburgh has published several of his poems in NewPeople. Read other articles by Paul.