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?