The Way Things Happen by William Taylor Jr.

It is Monday morning, downtown,
I am on my way to work.

On a sidewalk corner
a woman is handcuffed,
surrounded by uniformed men

who have been granted the power
to do such things.

The woman meets my stare
with eyes of hopelessness,
despair, and empty rage.

I have been there,
I may be there again.

And you might ask
if the woman is any more guilty of anything
than the men who put her in the back
of a car to take her to some ugly place,

and I might answer
I don't know
and it wouldn't matter if I did.

Across the street
a woman in another kind of uniform
runs for a bus.

She is still half a block away
as it stops to let the people file
off and on.

Hold the bus,
the woman yells,
hold the bus.

A few people give her
blank glances
but no one holds the bus

and it pulls away
as she reaches the stop
out of breath and clutching her chest.

A man coughs and drops
a losing ticket on the ground
and that's the way things happen.


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