Three small frying pans. Methodically. Step by step. A young black man behind an omelette station.

“Good morning, sir, what would you like?”

Eyes cast down. Polite.


“Depart from me, Lord, for I am a sinful man.”


Fault of our father’s?

Timid. Afraid. Of me? Of the world. Of his story.

“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”

A good boy. A handsome young man. Strong. Going to be tall. Unconscious potential.

But those eyes. Terribly cast down. That speech. Overly polite. His posture. Shoulders down and rounded forward. All three spoke: “I am not worthy…”

The fear of man. The fear of me. The fear of himself.

“Good morning, sir, what would you like?”

But it’s not my fault. Then again nor is it his. Yet, both are moot points—for at the beginning of the day—he’s still fettered.

He can walk, but he can’t run.

Still the crowd. You coward. Their omelettes can wait. Tell him he’s wonderful. That you want to be friends.

Kiss his beautiful brow.

Tell him.

“Raise your head, son of man, receive God’s blessing!”

“Stand-up straight. Chin toward the sky.”

“You’ve bowed long enough.”


The kiss of peace. One man to another. One knowing he’s been undeservedly set free. One not knowing he is even held captive.

A young black man smiles.

“Thank you, sir.”

Three one-dollar George-Washington bills lay beside a bin of multi-colored vegetables.

Me and my omelet walk away.

A ham-n-cheese garden delight.


—Howard Hain



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