A man doubled over on Koreshan Boulevard,
Knocked himself out and slid to the kerb,
Dragging his associations with him.
Even in his stupor, he tried to rub them off.
As I rushed to him I saw others do the same. One woman,
Compassioned and disgusted, groped out his
Life from his pockets. A shopping list with eggs crossed off,
A tablet wrapped in tissue, scuffed Islamic prayers
On the back of a receipt. Fake social security card,
Photos of himself with children, tubes of penicillin.
A guy said “Put them back,
Wait for the ambulance, we’re not repossessing him.”
The woman said she’s looking for diabetes, epilepsy, allergy bands.
She pulled out a pencil without lead
Then stepped into a flash
Of ambulance, which woke him.
As if rising for breath and left
With us holding the rest of him.
Imran Khan is a writer and speaker who has worked with detained refugees and victims of violence. His work has appeared, or is forthcoming, in the Thomas Hardy Journal, West Trade Review, The Bookends Review, and others. Khan has won a Thomas Hardy Award for poetry.