Sunday, February 20, 2022


cherry blossoms

A homeless man wrapped in a greasy coat
and an otherworldly calm approached me
as I rushed home from work
down the sidewalk.
"Greetings," he said. "I am you
from the future. I require Nine
of your Earth dollars."

I don't know why I stopped.
"Here's One dollar," I said.
"Don't spend it on drugs."

The man stared and smiled
an unsettling half-smile
until I asked,

"If you're from the future,
what's tomorrow's lottery number?"

He blinked Three times.
Then he sat cross-legged
on the pavement,

and I hurried home
scowling. I fell asleep
watching Netflix, and I dreamt

of ethereal riches, pillowy towers of gold,
strange, otherworldly money.

I woke late
not feeling like myself.
Skipping my shower, I stole away
toward the liquor store
to claim my winnings,
allowing myself
this fantasy—

fantasies within fantasies,
hopes mounded upon hopes.
I walked slower and slower,
not wishing to delay my fortune
any longer, and possibilities
sprang to life like the blossoms
on the trees lining the sidewalk.

I glanced a silver-blue scarf
in the window of a thrift store
I'd passed but never noticed.
Volunteers Agnes and Doreen
hooted and applauded
as I strode out dressed like a prince,
leaving my old clothes behind.

I whirled to a busker's violin,
I blessed One Hundred babies
with my smile,
I petted Twenty-Seven dogs.
I forgot about the lottery.

One day in Central Park
a dog-walking goddess
stared at me. Her eyes searched me
for answers, "Who are you?"
So I told her.
"I'm from the future—
your future."

We're married now,
with our Nine children,
and that's why I remembered
about the strange man
and the winning lottery number.