Black plastic bag, no tote, no backpack
One pair of shoes, no socks, no laces
Plenty of sunshine today, no raincoat
One glove, one cold, bare hand
Toothache, no aspirin
One quarter and three dimes,
No nickels, no ones, no fives
Cracks in the sidewalk, no looking up
Lest he fall and no one will help him
Another man froze to death overnight
on a sidewalk in Boulder. Science says
a gentle way to die, with his old boots on,
homeless on a hard bed. He’d slept out before
and had reason to hope he might wake up
with the sun. Without a down-filled coat
hope had no feathers.
Suffer the cold to come inside. Christ
and Allah never walked hard sidewalks.
Buddha sat under a tree in kinder weather.
There’s no chapter and verse for the lonely,
the scared, the claustrophobe who hates
walls. But their blood cools and organs fade
into a silent unholy night, no star, no wise men.