Marika 2 by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

Photo by Alexis Rhone Fancher

she’s a sad little puddle of misery
on the sidewalk outside the bar.
shocking to see how much she’s
deteriorated in only a week.
she gums her words,
the always sad litany of her
always sad life and,
as always,
I give her $1.
I should go out after dark more often.
bring more money. but ever since my stepdaughter
started stealing my
cash, I stopped carrying any.
should I call social services? I ask. I take out my iphone.
no. they won’t come. you gotta be on the street for
thirty days before
they’ll come git you.
thirty days is a long time to be homeless,
destitute, puddled, distraught.
I’m just tryin’ta git me sumthin’ ta eat, a place ta sleep,
it’s been so hard,
so hard, she says.
I reach into my wallet.
give her all I have.
she follows me down the neon street,
nose running, eyes bright,
thanking me over and over.
I can’t get away fast enough.
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