Litters by Debra Roberts

When came the imperceptible shift,
cold stir in familiar climes, calamity of calloused winds?
Small comforts for social creatures, drift
and cling, cluster on corners, byways
This is what we cast away,
dispose of nuisance, wipe our
hands and call them clean
There in the alley, at the empty
storefront, pools of unwanted huddle
Move in for a moment,
if you dare approach
see the gray gaze,
the pursed lips, balled
fists driven deep inside
a threadbare trust
faded jeans and worn out souls
– judge a book by its cover,
a civilization by its streets
There on the corner, tattering
the glaring discrepancy points to critical:
High rises and props reflect
fresh paint and concrete coddles nothing
a tree grows in the city, stunted
– the motherless waif, the rough hewn castaways congregate
A sagging awning, their church
Smoke becomes a prayer
before they vanish

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