I was sitting outside a library on a cement curb in Taipei, Taiwan. Ray was dozing in and out of a light sleep in his stroller, and Yee-chen was inside the library reading a book.  I was thinking about what poems to present to my American Literature students, when a stranger approached.  He stopped in front of us and stared at me for a while, and then at Ray, and then back and forth between us.  He made a number of gestures with his hands, and I thought he wanted money for food.
    At first, I thought to ignore him.  His left eye was closed shut, and I suppose the socket may have been empty.  He wore army-type clothing that probably came from WWII, and he had flip-flops – only the poorest, only the street people in Taiwan, wear flip-flops outside the home.  He was about 5’4” and anywhere from 70 to 90 years old.  He carried a duffle bag and five or six plastic bags filled up with unknown things.  From his gestures and his grunts, I guessed that he was mute, and for all I knew he may have been deaf as well.
    As I said, my first thought was to ignore him.  He looked dingy and even a little crazy.  He was a strange man, and he was only a few feet from my infant son.  In addition, his hands reaching out in wild gestures were drawing attention to me, and I have always preferred to stay in the background of any scene.  So I put my head down and ignored him.  I could see out of the corner of my eye that he was preparing to go.  But then I thought, Why not see what he wants?  Maybe he really has something to say to me.  He was trying
so hard to communicate with those flying hands.  If it’s
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