Omni, the gravy man, was feeding
a horse at the curb. The plastic
bucket had some overflow, there
on the ground, and two pigeons,
in turn, were having a feast. The
cold Winter sunlight shone to the
ground, making a warmer scene
of what was. I said nothing but
watched. Omni was a friend of
mine. He was from Scotland, and
had the snotty attitude of a tough
wrestler, were you to take him
down. Headlock. Full Nelson.
'Don't cross Omni,' was all I'd
say, 'he'll crush you like a
walnut broken right in two.'
The truest things you'd ever
heard were true for sure about
Omni. What he was doing here,
I never knew. Horse-carriage rides
through the park? Forty Dollars,
first twenty minutes? Five dollars
a minute, past that? Wow.
Omni had told me his story - right
off the boat, 36 years ago, put up
that night, by some late night
transit, not just him, but his
whole family and kin, or 'clan,'
as he put it. To Asbury Park, NJ,
somewhere. That very first night,
the place burned down. No one got
hurt, but his 'clan, lost everything
they'd brought. He laughed at it now,
'Gave us a fresh start, once again.'
He'd laugh at that; good omen.