A woman begs bus fare―
her cardboard placard creased
and stained. The penniless Juniper
asks her to wait while he ducks
into the church. He returns
with bells in a paper bag.
Silver is better pawned, he tells her.
The police usher Juniper
into the station where he
confesses eventually, seeming
to enjoy the good cop,
bad cop. The sergeant shouts
until his voice cracks. Later
that night, Juniper wakes the cop
at his home, flashlight in hand,
soup steaming in a plastic bowl.
Your voice box is injured
from yelling, he says.
This soup, my mother’s
recipe, will calm
the wolf in your throat.
The sergeant is furious.
Do you know what time it is?
To which Juniper replies—
if you’re not interested,
then at least hold my light
so I can eat. The sergeant
rubs his hand through his hair,
letting the door swing open―
Love the humor – or irony. Would make good scenes in a French film!
I love the crazy illogic of it all. Juniper steals from a church, but is kind enough to hand deliver soup.
Is stealing from a church to help someone begging for bus fare unkind? It may involve some contorted logic, but I suspect the intention would still be considered “kindness”.
I’m such a cynical reader that this makes me want to see a lot more of Juniper (just so I can figure him out a little better). I’m very taken with the mix of impulsive helpfulness and practicality.
thank you Phebe…Juniper shows up frequently in the life of St. Francis…he was a bit of a riddle