On the Cautious Road

The Hitchhiker holds his sign hopefully.
It is such a sad little sign;
limp and with a spelling mistake.
Yet it is the way I am going.
If this was 1943 I would stop.
If I was a man I would stop.
Why is he standing there, they ask.
I answer. My children look at me and say,
Well, we could give him a lift?
I can’t admit that I imagine the worst
that could happen, the things
they don’t know about yet;
rare and unlikely but possible
chance of him snuffing out our lights,
their miniature bones lost in the earth.

So I quickly reply that this car is too
noisy for that traveller,
he looks like he has a headache.
We drive straight past.
The children wave.


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