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?

Salvatore Difalco

Salvatore Difalco is the author of five books of fiction, including "The Mountie At Niagara Falls" (Anvil Press) a collection of microfiction.