February 2019 Archives

The End of the Line

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Beeping, the bus lift lowers

And they shuffle on board

Pushing their walker trolleys.

A rancid smell accompanies them.

Their clothes are worn, mismatched,

Long skirts over trousers,

Coats held together with safety pins,

Hats or kerchiefs covering stringy white hair,

Faces lined and whiskery.


Strapped down in their trolley baskets,

Sweaters, shoes, underwear, flasks,

Toothpaste, vitamins, family photographs,

Notebooks, bottles, gloves, blankets,

Remnants of a shattered life.

They suffer with obesity, swollen ankles,

Arthritis, paralysis and Parkinson's.


What troubles or misfortunes brought them here,

On this journey to the end of the line,

To queue for a meal and a bed

At the shelter next to the topless bar?


I ring the bell, disembark,

Turn into my comfortable home.

The bus roars on,

To the end of the line.

Barefoot on this frigid night

He stands in the middle of the icy road.

Gloveless hands weaving mysterious circles,

Shaven head bare

He sings his tuneless song to nobody,

Oblivious to the biting cold

That burns my cheeks and nose.

All around, in bars and restaurants

Dining and drinking, dancing and laughter.

Here, on Thirteenth street

Life hangs in the balance.


I watch him settle down outside the bank,

Preparing to sleep on chilly flagstones.

His flimsy blanket offers no protection.

Hope and warmth are just blocks away

Yet worlds apart from his bewildered brain.

He is my brother and my Messenger.

Running to the bus station

I call the hotline. Help is coming.

He will live, tonight.


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    About this Archive

    This page is an archive of entries from February 2019 listed from newest to oldest.

    January 2019 is the previous archive.

    Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.