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Castoffs by Jo Stewart

You must have seen him
a boy of twelve or thirteen
digging through the trash bin
in front of the taco joint,

looking for God knows what.
He finds a bag within a bag
a clean find —
a half eaten burrito.
 
My jaw drops as he bites into it.
My stomach churns —
disgust and sorrow
rise like a salty ocean.

You can see him walking down any street —
skinny, in a deflated parka and worn jeans,
eating out of a bag,
a remnant, rag tagged,

hanging like a worn thread.
There are others—
hiding on the open streets
or in the city’s underbelly.

They are rummaging inhabitants,
clinging  to life on a half eaten burrito,
their wits or a shady deal,
longing to be safe.                           

They haunt my sleep,
like pleading ghosts
they beg to be visible.
They are not what they seem.

This boy was not always invisible,
scary looking, 
unloved,
lost.

Published by  Blue Collar Review

Autumn 2008 Issue 

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