The Homeless by Deanna Acton

It is the early morning commuters who see me first

they rush past in their ties and blazers

wrinkle their noses, avert their gaze, stare at the ground.


The mothers follow next on their way to school

they recoil in disgust, horror, pity

they pull their children away from me, crossing the road.


It is the children who are the kindest

they peer at me curiously, inquiringly, quizzically

no judgement on their face; they see me clearest.


they smell me before they see me

they see lank hair underneath a thick woollen hat

they see the cardboard I use as mattress in the doorway.


They see my crooked yellow teeth and squinted eyes

they see my sleeping bag with holes in

they see my dog, my unconditional companion.


Believe me, I am ashamed;

the homeless man, the man without residence,

the man without a roof, the hobo.


The posters in bus stations say kindness kills

I’ll use your money to buy cocaine and vodka

and I will.


Off my face on smack so I don’t see yours

Repulsion etched on every wrinkle

Hallucinate to comfort from my painful reality

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