Gather, you beggars. Assemble
like pigeons, seeking morsels of kindness
on these filthy city streets. We notice but do not acknowledge.
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.
©2021 j.g. lewis