Look Away

Gather, you beggars. Assemble 

like pigeons, seeking morsels of kindness 

on these filthy city streets. We notice but do not acknowledge.  

Or apologize. 


I cannot deal with all I see. 


Any spare change? No answer. No chance.  

I saunter by in my warm parka, well-rested, belly full 

of breakfast. I know no hunger, though not immune  

to the pang. Sunglasses shield my eyes.  

I have witnessed too much. 


There, but by the grace of God, go I. 


They remain. Unrecognizable 

even to those who have loved them. A person’s sister, somebody’s  

brother, somebody’s child. A somebody; 

another vacant bed or private hell 

another excuse or story to tell. 


We do not want to hear. 


Nor dare to breathe. Ask no questions. 

I am only what I ask myself to be. If 

charity begins at home, what then of the homeless? Nothing. 

I know where I will sleep tonight. 


Ashamed. I do little but look away. 


Filthy pigeons stare back.  

Then scatter. 


©2021 j.g. lewis


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