There’s a brother who sits over on North University.
Looks like James Baldwin in a do-rag. Sings.
Is he homeless? People give him money
like he’s homeless. I look the other way,
cross the street if I see him in time,
although one day I don’t see him in time
and without meaning to, I look into his eyes.
He says Hi. So what can I do? I say Hi.
Which means the next time I see him I have to
say Hi. And so he says Hi. And the next time, Hi.
Hi. And the next time too. That’s the seminal text
of our conversation, the full operatic range
of whatever we are to each other. He says Hi,
I say Hi. I say Hi, he says Hi—Hi, Hi,
Hi, Hi. No idea of what the other
might say next.