Inner City Man, by Marilyn Timms

It’s nothing personal, they tell him,
handing him his P45.
It’s nothing personal, they say,
foreclosing on the mortgage.
It’s me, not you, insists his wife,
packing his children in the car.
It’s the system, they tell him.
Miss a meeting, you get sanctioned.
They offer a lop-sided smile,
revoke his benefits.
He hijacks a doorway in the town,
spreads his sleeping bag.
He counts chewing gum
pustules on the pavement,
watches ice grow on puddles.
A woman offers him her scarf,
forgets to speak.
By morning, he is become invisible.
People have jobs to go to,
homes to furnish, food to buy,
lovers to meet, jokes to share.
He consigns the whole lousy town
to hell – now it’s personal.

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