I met his melancholy between the lines
Mid-way into his life story

He was standing by a dusty road
Wearing a blue poncho

A rucksack against his feet
Slowing to look more closely

I saw him crunching toward the car
And pulled over

“The nearest town,” he heaved
Climbing in, his week-old stubble

Filling my rear-view mirror
He never left my side

As it turned out
Sat resolutely in place

Even after I had moved on
To the next novel

Travelling with me
Reading this

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