You could go sterile on a seat like that,
he told me, jiggling one dusty finger
at the black cheek-shaped seat
of my bicycle, which rested with me
against the cafe umbrella stand.

I didn’t quite follow his reasoning—
which he gave in file-folder
eruptions of statistics and news articles clear
from the research department of his mind.

I was amused; flattered, nearly
at the concern this stranger had
for my capacity to continue the human race.

When my nods had satisfied, he carried on west,
still in slow soft murmurs,
a gentle smile on his whiskered cheeks.
He glanced over his shoulder one last time
before disappearing amidst plumeria trees,
and I could have sworn
he tipped an invisible hat in my direction.

I gave his vigilante heart a tug of purpose.
He, in turn, gave me
a poem.


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