The street is quiet, solemn, cold before dawn,
pangs of hunger sound the alarm as
hands that used to finger coins in pockets
are rubbed together for warmth,
before a rising, pale yellow sun,
that scratches the thin sky like sandpaper.
Tattered attire adorning weary
forms that once blended in with others through
days of diligent labor, now rush to
scavenge through the park’s refuse cans.
The door of the corner gas station is missing
as they wash at a filth coated sink
in barely running rust stained water
soap a thing of the past
memories of cleansing morning rituals
disappearing challenged by day to day survival.
Outside the sidewalk is cracked,
scarred, as calloused as their faith.
There’s cardboard and wooden crates
in the alley, tonight’s suburbia for the
first come, first served.
Pushing supermarket carts of hope, they
search for coveted recyclables,
bounty from tipped over,
dented trash cans, amid moans of the
young and the old, no discrimination
on the streets of broken dreams, they’re the
disowned, forgotten, the helpless,
the leftovers of society, someone’s mother
or the not quite yet man, the discards of
uncaring relations with bibles on their
food laden tables of indulgence.
They walk as the deaf, the blind, unheard, unseen.
They are our brothers, sisters, they are withering,
they are dying . . . can we not hear them?
See their eyes open in quiet screams?
They are those who scrounge for the
discards of our pampered lives.
the aborted by-products of down sizing,
Those whom we scorn and scurry by,
for our hearts fear and whisper,
“There but for the grace of God go I.”
© Marcia Miller-Twiford