Homeless (Written December 29)

Homeless

 

One of them passes here frequently,

At least once a day, sometimes twice.

He never stops, even when we ask

 

His name. He won’t look at you, or say

Where he’s going. People have tasks

They’d gladly pay him for, but he’s

 

Not interested. He scours the downtown,

And promptly at noon, like clockwork, pees

Against the wall under the bridge.

 

You can see him if you want.

People watch from the ridge

Of the hill and shake their heads.

 

He’s a tall man, in his sixties,

With thinning hair, and it’s said

He’s a former teacher, and a star

 

Athlete in his younger days.

It’s sad to see how far

He’s fallen, but what can you do?

 

He won’t refuse a hand-out,

Unless in the old days he knew you.

Then he backs away, with his head down.

 

He greets his fellow homeless,

But they don’t stick together. It’s frowned

Upon, by the powers that be. Don’t stand

 

Around, it’s against the law. So it goes.

It makes you want to wring your hands.

But what can you do?

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