from By the Well of Living and Seeing, Part II, Section 18: “I saw him walking along slowly at night”

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I saw him walking along slowly at night
holding a tray of candy and chewing-gum:
a Jewish boy of fifteen or sixteen
with large black eyes and a gentle face.
He sidled into a saloon
and must have been ordered away
because he came out promptly
through the swinging doors.

I wondered what he was doing
far from a Jewish neighborhood.
(I knew the side streets
and the roughs standing about on the corners and stoops.)
What a prize this shambling boy with his tray!
I stepped up to warn him
against leaving the brightly-lit avenue.
He listened, eyed me steadily, and walked on calmly.
I looked at him in astonishment
and thought: has nothing frightened you?

Neither the capture of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, by the
Romans, by the Crusaders?
No pogrom in Russia;
no Nazi death-camp in Germany?
How can you still go about so calmly?
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