Thursday, October 12, 2006


At a time of the evening
when most families are sitting
around the table for dinner,
I am just leaving
my second job,
teaching struggling college students
how to organize their thoughts
on paper.

At the crossroads
of Shield and Blackstone,
I meet the eyes
of two young men
stationed at opposite sides of the street.

One man is sitting hunched over
on a battered blue ice box,
wearing a discolored green parka
and a black skull cap over oily brown hair.
He has a pack on his back,
a duffel bag at his side,
looking ready to start a long journey,
carrying a sign:
Hungry! Please Help!

The other man is walking briskly
up and down the street,
wearing a white T-shirt and black jeans.
His eyes roam the faces
of the drivers stopped at the red light,
hoping to trade the dozen roses
he clutches in his hand
for a few dollars.
His unkempt black hair,
his lean brown face
speak of his arrival from a long journey
through tunnels under fences,
through military live-firing ranges,
through deserts and strange towns,
crossing the border.

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