I once wondered how they did it

living on the streets of Providence,

at the mercy of people unlike them,

people who show them pity,

or not

people they despise

people like us


we bundle up; it's cold out there!

but just for a little while

the warm embrace from our car's heater

something they seldom feel

blankets us with warmth,

keeps the cold outside

with them.


a few layers of donated coats

and bottle of cheap vodka

to keep them warm while they stand

with their hand out

looking for mercy


dreams long forgotten

souls as void as their bottles thrown in the gutter,

adding to the litter

crushed with our tires

as we speed past

stinging those hands with grit


I no longer wonder how they do it,

They don't.

Late forties, early fifties, then gone



I play along, take them to the hospital when they have had enough

and watch them go.

Sometimes, it takes years.

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