Reading

Two days 
before 
Christmas
there’s 
standing
room only 
on the
street car 
as it 
rumbles
slowly 
home.
It’s quiet.
Everyone’s 
reading:
newspapers
books
magazines.
Maybe 
we’re all
just bagged
from shopping.
No one notices
the homeless
guy until 
he speaks. 
“I like the lines”
he says loudly
and when 
no one answers
he continues
anyway.
“I can’t read but I like the straight lines.”
We all 
pretend to 
keep on 
reading,
our heads 
buried in 
those lines
as if he’s just 
a troubling
fiction.

R.D. Book

Writer and former journalist, author of five books of fiction including short story collections, historical fiction novellas and children’s picture books.