to an unknown homeless man

Dear Unknown Homeless Man,

It was years ago I saw you. We were on an exit ramp in Dallas and you stood there with your sign. I can’t remember if Peter or I pointed you out to Mom, or if Mom went to Church’s Chicken of her own initiative. You see, she didn’t want to give you money because she didn’t want you to buy drugs or alcohol, and she didn’t want to take you anywhere because it was just her and us in the car and she didn’t know you and you were a man. Food was safe though, and it would help you for a couple hours.

We went to Church’s Chicken and we bought you a chicken dinner, a really good one, with biscuits and gravy too. I was so excited to come and give you your chicken, but when we came back to where you had stood, you were gone.

Why did you leave, Homeless Man? Where did you go? Did you move to a more profitable corner? Did someone to take you out to eat? You are mysterious in my childhood brain, Homeless Man.

We drove home and Dad opened the box of chicken. We all ate your chicken dinner, in addition to the plentiful dinner Mom had already made.

I’m sorry.

-Hannah Rose

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