STREETCORNER PROPHESY

He stands on the corner, rocking back and forth. He has been here every day for as long as most can remember. He hasn’t bathed in some time, his clothes, once white are indeterminate shades of beige. Everything is worn thin. His beard has grown long, shaggy. His hair seems electric on his head. He wears sandals, their straps frayed. He always has the same worn book in his left hand. His right hand gesticulates as if leading some unseen orchestra.  As we approach he says, “the end is near, the end is near, the end is near.” We expect him to add “repent now” but he does not. We find this curious. We see the book he is holding is someone’s discarded Bible, his thumb in the pages. “The end is near,” he repeats.  I reach for the book which he hands me, and I turn the pages back to Genesis and hand him the book, smiling: “Now the end is a long way off,” and walk away.

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