010. Adams/Wabash

by John Herzog

I thought I saw you
hunched below the Adams/Wabash
wrought iron canopy
looking for spare change
for someone who might listen

like how I saw you when I was nine
you stumbled into the shelter
and I ladled slop onto your tray
because that's all I had to give
besides one uncertain hug
the last hug I ever gave you
before the years caught up with you
and tore your dandelion off its stem

and I could hardly bear to look you in the eye
but now I see you every street corner
beneath tattered blankets collecting snow
eyes frozen like Lake Michigan
face like the sidewalks you call home

tell me
do you count the number that walk upon you
and leave your cracks to grow
I am but one more
still refusing to look you in the eye
and admit
I failed you

we all failed you


Author's Note: CTA Adams/Wabash station.

Posted on 12/18/2017
Copyright © 2021 John Herzog

Member Comments on this Poem
Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 12/20/17 at 01:34 AM

Powerfully heartbreaking poetic snapshot, John. Superbly expressed. Seems no matter where we go, at least in North America...Canada too, we see these unfortunates. Not just downtown, but in my own suburban neighborhood too now.

Posted by Chris Sorrenti on 12/20/17 at 01:34 AM

PS: Suggested for POTD.

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