Angel | Spokane, WA | 2018

Forty-two years ago, before NYC’s Times Square was scrubbed clean of sex and drugs, I was exploring an adjacent alley when I heard footsteps behind me. Deep shadows, high walls, garbage everywhere: The alley was a no-man’s land where only a fool would stroll. But there I was, a stalker’s target, so I picked up my pace and looked for an escape route. Immediately the footsteps sped up, got closer, got louder, until they were right behind me. I felt a tap on my shoulder and whipped around to face my attacker. It was a young man, perhaps homeless, who immediately motioned that he couldn’t speak or hear. He held out a fold of money — my money, all the cash I had — that had fallen from my pocket. He placed it in my hand, gave a nod and big smile, then disappeared down the darkened alley.

A poem to ponder:

The Angels Have No Wings

the angels have no wings
they come to you wearing
their own clothes

they have learned to love you
and will keep coming

unless you insist on wings

— Lucille Clifton (2004)