The Ringer

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A gyrating Salvation Army bellringer

fresh off a successful run at Little Caesar’s sidewalk

guards the doorway

to the Stone Mountain Walmart

He deftly dances and offers

his extended hand with an underhand swoop.

His lithe body in perfect unison

with the music in his headphones,

his beautiful brown face beaming with joy,

In the parking lot, sedentary men in cars watch the show

Glad for something interesting while

waiting to ride up and

pick up their mothers as they exit the store.

A few annoyed shoppers avert their gaze

but he pursues them.

General Booth would never have imagined

that the laughter he stirs causes them to smile so,

reach into their pockets and give

into the little kettles

on behalf of the nail-scarred hands

lifted up and outstretched.