A vagrant in a laundry mat
sat facing forward looking back
across the room, across his life.
His eyes a glaze of neon light.
A weary vigil the old man keeps
in hopes of holding his tattered seat.
Brief refuge from the wind and cold
he has no other place to go.
His spell then breaks to sharp commands
from a burdened mother, babe in hand,
to two more charges whirling near.
Her constant chiding they do not hear.
They run the length and echoes roar
from pounding feet and slamming doors
'til stopped in stride when turned to face
the tarried strangers resting place.
One look at them and to his feet.
He shuffles out and down the street.
He'd sooner face the bitter cold
than children eight and nine years old.