Homelessness


Everyday is the same.
You'll use it for drugs, just go to a shelter, get a job.
They have heard this hundreds of times.
Parents cling to their child's hands and cross the street.
Passersby refuse to make eye contact and teenagers
turn up their music to turn down reality.
Homelessness is real.
Yet, society complains of the inconvenience of the wandering souls.
I'm sorry that they have nowhere to go.
I'm sorry that their existence bothers you.
I'm sorry that all you do is complain instead of doing something.
One day I was in line, and a boy in a torn t-shirt approached me.
"I got kicked out and I'm hungry. Do you have any spare change?"
I looked into his eyes. There was misery, but more, there was shame.
Every instinct I had told me "yes, do it. Help him!"
but the words got jumbled and out of my mouth came "No, sorry" .
He walked away, hands in pockets, head hanging low.
I had the money the entire time.
I decided to put an object before a human, a person.
I couldn't bring myself to spend $5 because of my own selfishness.
That was over a year ago; I still think of him every day.
When you see a sign that pleads for help, do you look away?
Or do you read it and feel compassion?
Do you say a simple "hello" or do you walk straight past?
Do you think to yourself when they ask for money "get a job"
Or do you think "I am too selfish to give" ?

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