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In the hollow of his hands,
folded as if in prayer,
he held a glimmer of home.
Ten dollar worth of happiness,
to buy some time in a red booth;
a portal to distant seas and lands.

Driving away despair and loneliness,
just for a moment, a few minutes —
his heart rejoicing and skipping a beat ….
Hiding his tears, forcing his voice to sound fine,
at the sound of excited voices on the other end of the line,
their laughter and the prattle of children he barely knows sound so divine.

“Hey you guys! We just entered port. How are all of you?”
“We’re okay.” They say on speaker. “Junior has the flu.”
“Since when? Is he taking his medicines?”
His loneliness resounded, it did not seem to lessen.
“Yes, he’s fine.” Bad reception.
He wonders if they hear him above the din.
Did one of them ask how he has been ….
Hurried words and, “Grandma will have her operation next week.”
Never enough. He sighs against the cold.
He closes his eyes and replies, “She’s getting old.”
They agreed, “She’s been in pain and she’s very sick.”
Silence … he coughs, throat tightening … followed by a series of beeps.
“What’s that?” They asked.
“I only have a couple of minutes left in my card.”
“What? Why? Where’s your cellphone?”
“I needed money to pay for a loan — ”
The line goes dead. Wonderland is gone.
He’s back in the zone.

He bows his head
like a man uttering a prayer,
after everything’s been said
he wallows in despair.
Ten dollar worth of happiness
He feels the emptiness and sadness
Over moments done and gone.

Looking around
it dawns on him
the cold has bitten
into his bone

And he feels so alone ….