‘If you want to win the teddy bear, you have to break the rules.’
Advice from a panhandler, a regular,
outside one of two coffee shops. People come and go,
tedious ebb and flow of those getting by; life in this city.
Daily she is here or there, barely warm coat,
hands clasped in prayer, paper cup and her frowzy blanket.
Where she sleeps is often a wonder;
women’s shelter a block over, or congregated
rooming house. Downtown. There are many not far away.
‘Any spare change, anything helps.’
Passersby, some smile, others won’t. Many don’t
look down. Not everybody stops, not everybody walks on by.
A quarter or two, a coffee or crumpet. Here and there.
More or less.
Sight smile from an everyday face that has braved cold
winter winds, scorn and rejection. Her life harder than
the dirty concrete where she sits. Every day.
Empty stomach. Little promise. Few possibilities.
Some other day.
Some other time, the world was different.
So was I.
So was she.
Society does what it does.
We rarely know
who breaks the rules and do not question those who make them.
© 2021 j.g. lewis
April is Poetry Month
all poetry all the time
poetry every day