Wednesday, May 20, 2009

     I was staying on 15th Street with a friend of Susan's who told me to turn left and walk across to on Square to the farmer's market on Saturday. Since I was strangely disoriented and didn't know uptown from downtown, I followed her directions. Just as I crossed 5th Avenue, I walked by a barrier of suitcases and carts and noticed the ruddy face of a sleeping man. He could have been a farmer, lying there, covered by a blue blanket, on top of a mattress. I could see him through a crack between his partitioning.
     When I walked by much later, probably about two, his head was covered with a blanket hood, his face hidden, a pack of cigarettes lying next to him. I could smell urine from several feet away.
     The next day it was threatening rain and I wondered how he would manage that. It seemed probable that he had two mattresses, one buttressed against the building and the other against the carts and his suitcases. How would everything stay dry?
     But when I walked by his area, 4 East 15th Street, the mattresses had been folded up and the carts pushed against the outside elevator shaft that had served as the head of his bed. He was gone.

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