today’s word: palsy

palsy: n. paralysis; adj. an atonal muscular condition characterized by uncontrollable tremors; disabled or lame; v. to cause paralysis; also, displaying kindly feeling and interest towards someone or some thing (also palsy-walsy). 

A Brief Exchange

He passed me on the street, a boy of uncertain age
and spoke, offering a Hi  just as he went by, along with
a harmless smile, a friendly forewarning of his palsied gait,
the rhythmic drag of canvas against concrete.
He meant no harm but often, no doubt, caused alarm,
and had learned to diffuse indifferent curiosity, claiming
a conversation of sorts, a common greeting at least,
and then, because he really could scramble at quite a clip,
having dispensed his charm, I watched as he disappeared
ahead of me—a toothless old woman, huffing and puffing
her way along the pavement.

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