A Poem by Krisann Janowitz
In Philadelphia, I Pass My City’s Homeless Hiding in Dark Corners of Suburban Station
& close their eyes. I see one man with hair like
salt sprinkled onto pepper.
His lips and elbows beg
for lotion. His skin drapes
over bones that cry in unison.
A smile forms across his face.
He holds a torn burgundy blanket
in rough hands and prays
with no rosary beads, pulling the
blanket to the right after each
hail Mary. Tears begin to fall down his left cheek
and his prayers grow louder
& I remember the last time a homeless man
startled me. I was speedwalking
from the train to Fergie’s Pub and a large man sitting
at the bottom of the staircase
yelled “You got a cigarette?!” After I realized
what he said, I apologized “No, sorry,
I wish I did.” And I do, because even though
you frighten my tiny female body,
I want to be able to help you,
to give you what you want in
America. America the land of opportunity to turn
away & save oneself from sure discomfort.
We are certain as the setting sun
that looking elsewhere is better
than seeing yourself in a mirror,
not knowing where your next
meal will come from. & I start to feel
sick thinking about all
who call Suburban Station home,
with its desert colored walls,
a fading tan with tiny holes where
time has chipped the cement
away. Away is where I want to go
from you. So I continue walking
up the stairs and hope you
didn’t see me.