June 14, 2011


The telephone poles on my way to the park are often plastered with posters. At the busy intersections most of them advertise entertainment events but as I move deeper into the neighborhood, the messages are of a personal note. A poster is a literary form where communication must be simple and direct, so I stop to read them, often finding messages that tell a story.


Today I saw several pleas for a lost cat named Buchi. From his description as a gentle creature, I could see his owners loved him and as I walked away, my eyes scanned the nearby shrubbery, hoping to site him and give the story a happy ending. I didn’t, unfortunately.

Several paces up the road I spied another poster. This time a man had lost his rent money and urged whoever had found it to return the sum for a generous reward. I hoped his request would be answered. 

Of course, that’s the problem with messages stapled to telephone poles: one never knows how the story ends. Months ago, a man wrote that he’d lost his job and was desperate for work of any kind. Did he find employment, I wondered. Or was he living on the streets?

How we respond to these cries for help depends upon our natures. We can play the cynic and believe nothing good came to these strangers. But I prefer to imagine Buchi is at home, sitting on his pillow; that the lost rent money was returned and that the man without work now has more than he can handle.