His white hair is cropped close to the skull so that the too-tan, leathery skin beneath shows through, shiny and tight. He sits by the door on the long bench that extends along one wall of the subway car, clutching a metal cane, with a vacant, exhausted stare that does not see.
A short, white plastic tube sticks out of his throat where his adam's apple would be, and it's held in place by a plastic and dingy gray cloth collar that pokes out of the neck of his sweatshirt.
He coughs, an almost silent, wheezing heave that convulses his entire body, and my chest contracts in sympathy, as if there is suddenly not enough air in the train, underground, in the entire world.
One year ago: Don't Be a Hero
Two years ago: Pete Seeger Park
Three years ago: Shelter
Four years ago: Veterans of Twitter Warfare
Eight years ago: 5/23/09 - Wycoff when you can sneeze?
Nine years ago: 5-23-08 Non-non-violence