ON THE 96TH STREET PLATFORM
From two laps around the Central Park Reservoir
Finished an hour ago
I descended the steps
To the subway platform at the 96th Street station.
Eyes locked on the homeless man
Unwashed and unkempt
Asleep next to a paper bag covered 40
Likely Old English
I shifted my messenger bag
From my right hip to my left
So it would be out of his arms reach
When I passed him in t-minus 20 seconds.
At t-minus fifteen my shoulder buckled
Courtesy of an actual bag snatcher
So determined to relieve me of my belongings
He brought a knife to sever the strap.
He’d have gotten away with it too
If the homeless man
Who I once feared
Hadn’t leapt into action
And tackled my assailant
Just before he reached the turnstyled
Exit to the street.
In the aftermath,
As the handcuffed perp
Was marched up the street
And our names and my address
Were recorded by the responding officer
I invited Shane to dinner
Hopeful that I could start again.
About the Author: Seth Ruderman lives in Wayne, NJ with his wife and two children. He is a winner of the 2016 RhymeZone Poetry Prize and has had work published in Birds Piled Loosely, The Bitchin' Kitsch and Lighten Up Online and other literary journals.