Envy for the armless man begging alms by the yellow sub shop, not emulation—that’s why I stare. Eyes on fire, I stand as close to him as humanly possible. Hands in pockets, I deeply nod, but the amputee has an ugly face. This is not to say it lessens his humanity, on the contrary, one loves a face so beaten, so hardbitten, so semi-monstrous.
Then back at home the meat cleaver gives me pause before I go to bed and dream of walking armless down the street. People go: “There goes the armless man. There goes the friendly armless man. Perhaps we can assist him.” What is not to envy of a life given such gentle surmise, that cannot dress or feed itself but is vouchsafed of fruitless gesture?