I see them, not looking away I just look through. One day I break the rule and talk to them. The old man used to be something, before the street life. She is still someone’s wife – practically a person she says, laughing. They don’t need my concern, just the occasional dollar, a few cigarettes. She looks like my mother’s cousin. Her name is Angela. He is an expert collector of bottles and cans, keeps them fed between shelter meals. Angela is also an expert in her way and keeps them in wine. I almost didn’t notice they were gone. Then one day a new guy with a sign and cup is in the alleyway. I broke the rule again, asked why him not them. His brown-stained coat shrugged, he looked at his cup. I dropped a five and he told me a story: the old man Barry died real sudden maybe in a shelter, heart attack maybe. Angela maybe went back home, somewhere in some state, maybe Detroit or Idaho maybe. Sometimes the streets are just like the rest of the world. People die unexpectedly in odd places. Some go home to Detroit or Idaho. One day you’re something, the next something else. Many are expert, in their way. Everyone looks like someone’s cousin -and no matter where you are, Angela is a beautiful name.
03 Sunday Nov 2013
Winding Stream Press said:
Homelessness made visible and it’s people real. Wonderful and shows you care.
Ronald E. Shields said:
Jan, thank you for reading and especially leaving the comments…one of the reasons I write is to stimulate interaction with people, I write for people to read, but also to say something in return. I mean if a poem means something or stimulates some thought it makes it all so satisfying and worthwhile to find out what happens for the reader, so thank you.
isn’t angela such a beautiful name? nailed it, ron. would love to hear this one read.