Homeless in NYC

by Michael Keshigian

I crossed 42nd to get to Fifth
towards mid-town
and just paces in front of me
an old lady pushed a shopping cart
full of identity.

Bags of cans dangled
from each elbow
and clanged as she waddled
in clothes
worse than a country scarecrow

though her straw gray hair
hung longer,
tied in a tail with brown hosiery
to match her stoic, weathered face
and it pained my heart

when suddenly she squatted
in a deep knee bend,
like she was picking
something off the sidewalk,
and there she froze

as I quickly approached
to help,
unaware of the problem
till a puddle formed
and its river flowed around my shoes

down the curb
and in the privacy of her mind,
she transformed
my sympathy
to confused helplessness.


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