Tuesday, August 11, 2009

On the Street Today

In a rubble-strewn gutter, the detached bucket of a power shovel, big enough for me to crouch in, crusted with pale dirt. Like a severed hand. You feel someone should report it to the police.

Propped on a stout street girl's thighs, as she sits cross-legged, is a sheet of cardboard. Scrawled on it in black felt pen:

begging sucks
but compassion doesn't

Her head droops: I can't tell if she's asleep or awake.

By a light rail stop is a pack, a patched sleeping bag, and some other well-worn road gear. I'm puzzled to find the owner, for a moment, but then I spot him in front of the glossy brass nameplate of a store. He's iron haired, dirty, and cadaverous. He's using the reflection, anxiously examining a pimple on his cheek.

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