Hugs: Madison, Wisconsin

In the frigid, early morning
near the Capitol, people walk
to buses, school, parking,
work or nowhere. They
appear to struggle in the ice
water of pre-dawn. The sun

is no more than a crumb
on the horizon. An emotion
washes over me, warm. I want
to stop my truck, open my lunch
bag, and give that man my
orange, that woman my pretzels,

that boy my apple. For
a fleeting moment I want
to pull the air horn, toss out
colored streamers, maybe
offer all of them a hug. Right
now, I feel I need one myself

since this morning I have
moved along at my very worst.

—John Sierpinski, Franklin