Knight of the Homeless

by Judith Meyerowitz

Four men ages forty-eight to eighty-three enter the night together. They are a band of brothers, related not by blood but by experience and homelessness. Banished from the kingdom, three huddle together while another lies down nearby. Having no home, they seek a safe dry place and sleep outside the city walls.

The four pass around a cheap flask and the moon reflects off the surface, a swig of whiskey their remaining comfort.

They recognize a young man from the streets, as much outcast as they from the towers of granite.

He is yelling crazily and brandishing a pipe:

“This is my land. Get out of my country. “

The metal object glistens in the moonlight. He raises it above and crashes it down on their heads.  

The four fall through the night.

Never to awaken

Suddenly out of the dark, an odd figure emerges cloaked in silver armor. All are blinded by the shimmering silverlight as if a mirage.  

He wears a chain mail necklace made from soda can tabs, tin plates show through beneath. He draws his sword— an umbrella with metallic spokes poking through. He wears his helmet— a shoebox adorned with foil and pieces of colored glass.

An urban knight on a quest for justice, his mission to avenge the deaths upon the Bowery. He rides through the streets of lower Manhattan on his bicycle, shielded by a garbage can lid, sweeping by the powerless who alone can visualize him.

They cheer as he chases the devil dressed in black, still holding the pipe with the blood of brothers and slays him under a full moon.

This work was developed for the Writing Workshop study group in the fall of 2019 and Judith thanks the coordinator and its members. The work is in memory of the four homeless men murdered as they slept on the Bowery in October of that year.