Living on the Streets

I never chose to be here

Amid concrete and cheap booze—

I’d sooner die but bodies carry on for years.

 

I hear the wailing ricochet of children

Held within this hell of rolling veins.

No, they never, never chose to be here.

 

Limbs stiffened from cold sidewalks trap me

As pustules grow and lice feed on my skin—

I’d sooner die but bodies carry on for years.

 

Violence is not televised on streets; instead, it jeers at battered

Skulls and broken bones—we’re easy prey for kids.

No, I never chose to be here.

 

Whiskey holds back cold and memories that leer of oboe played

Amidst the smoke, thighs wrapping mine through dawn.

Now, I’d sooner die but bodies carry on for years.

 

With deafened ears and eyes averted, you comment on

My stench as you dart into the restaurant;

I never chose to be here—

I’d sooner die but bodies carry on for years.

 

Thank you to the editors of Mediphors: A Literary Journal of the Health Professions for first publishing this poem.

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