for post on homeless: i could be you

I drove right through the changing light
Horns blowing as I went.
I had to make just one more store,
Before the day was spent.

.

I swerved in time to miss a man
Who held a cardboard sign.
A homeless man, who’d work for food,
Thank God, I’d braked in time.

.

I parked my ride and looked around,
Then groaned at what I saw.
A sea of cars parked everywhere.
The world was at the mall!

.

Oh Lord, I thought, it comes again.
The season of excess.
When want and greed are king and queen,
And reign in selfishness.

.

Then smiling wide I grabbed my purse.
This was my time to shop,
And for the homeless on the street
I had no time for thought!

.

But just outside the store front door
A homeless woman sat.
She was dirty and disgusting
With a child upon her lap.

.

She looked at me with pain filled eyes,
She seemed to read my mind.
“I could be you,” she mouthed the words,
“Some place, some other time.”

.

I turned my head, I walked right past.
My conscience now was sore.
With every purchase that I made
I’d see her at the door.

.

Then passing by a manger scene
I had to stare awhile,
For the Virgin and her baby
Were the woman and her child!

 .

Remembering that pain filled look,
And how she’d read my mind,
“I could be you,” she mouthed the words
“Some place, some other time.”

.

With no more thought I turned around
My Christmas I would share!
But the woman and her baby,
They were no longer there.

.

Just a note upon the sidewalk.
A scribbled cardboard sign,
“I could be you,” she wrote to me.
“Some place, some other time.”

.

Donna Sue Berry
Written on Christmas 2010

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Art for this post Homeless: I Could be You: Obdachlos (Homeless), Fernand Pelez, by 1883, PD-US author’s life plus 70 years or less, published in the U.S. prior to January 1, 1923, Wikimedia Commons.

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