A Loss for Actions

I am ashamed that your dirty hands,
make me flinch.
I know you didn’t start this way.

Foaming at the mouth.
Mumbled words.

Your twitches formed with emotional breaks,
and physical beatings.
Exiled from a place
that was never really home.

Cardboard –
now your bed,
on this wet and lonely street.
Bringing more comfort
than a mother’s hands ever did.

You were wronged.
Mistreated.
Failed – time and again.

My heart sinks every time I walk by,
and see your broken shoes,
calloused feet.

I feel burdened by my full stomach.
I feel ashamed inside of my clean clothes.
So ashamed…

That I just walk by.

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26 comments

  1. Poignant and revealing, Jess. And so true that, by so closely looking at others and what they have done with life (and life with them), we develop a greater understanding of ourselves. Unfortunately, sometimes that’s not a pretty picture. But it’s the truth as much as what you have rendered here. Thank you.

    1. Thanks Joe. Homeless is a sad reality everywhere. More visually prevalent in big cities. Tough to see and really tough to know what is the right thing to do.

  2. You are painfully honest in your writing.

    “I feel burdened by my full stomach.
    I feel ashamed inside of my clean clothes.
    So ashamed…

    That I just walk by.”

    Powerful words here.

    1. Aw, so true. It is frustrating to not know what the right thing to do is or what anyone can do really. Thank you for reading. 🙂

  3. I got goosebumps reading this, Jess.. cu that’s how I feel when I see and walk past some of the homeless I come across.. especially kids!! 🙁
    This poem shows you how compassionate you are, my dear.. Cuz even feeling is something..
    Very beautifully written, my dear.. very kind..

  4. Wow. I appreciate the honesty, intense guilt and compassion wrapped in every stanza. This is an issue I grapple with living in a town with a high rate of homelessness. I haven’t gotten used to it. I want to help. But there are so many ofthem and only one of me. I can relate to how the writer feels.

    1. Thank you Belinda. I think it is something we will every get used to or even should for that matter. If we do then we lose our compassion. xoxoox

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