I’m in a homey coffee shop in a strange town
next door to a famous indie bookstore,
that’s supposed to be open but isn’t  
and I’m shopping for images, as Ginsberg would have it,
searching for inspiration, as it were,  

when this toddler toddles up to my table
and says Hi over and over, like fifty times,
or maybe he’s saying high because honestly
he’s behaving like a meth head who just got
out of a mental hospital, but it’s okay because he’s little,  

so I smile at his mom and sit still in an effort to convey
that I’m a friendly stranger, patient, kid-loving,
but not a creepy stranger, candy in pockets, kid-loving
in a whole other, disturbing way, but I’m thinking
maybe she should pull him away, teach him wariness,  

and I’m thinking he’s interrupting my creative process,
as it were, but then I remember another coffeeshop  
where I saw a minister of my acquaintance
at a table with some college students,
when a meth head just out of a mental hospital

approached their table, and the pastor, who always
seemed creepy to me, who, as it turns out,  
was actually committing adultery with an intern,
one of the folks at that very table, said to the meth head/mental patient
We’re praying here, even though their eyes were all open,

and you’ve got me, I invented the meth head/mental patient,
it was me approaching their table, just to say hi but also  
because I was going through some shit, I forget what, exactly,
one way or another going through life like a bug
that had just been stepped on and was trying to avoid

getting stepped on again and smushed entirely,
and I remember thinking I could be the answer to their prayer  
if the prayer was Dear Lord, bring us someone in need
of being ministered to, as I did feel the need for some
ministration, and thinking of that coffeeshop

while sitting in this coffeeshop, I realize that this kid
is my poem, a two foot tall poem, hitting its head  
on my table, then crawling back to his mom,
who now scowls at me like I’m some god
who could have kept her son safe.