Ruddy-faced, the ragged wanderer wraps his
coffee cup and his smoke in one hand.
His other he keeps in the pocket
of his third-hand Mets jacket.

Whether he’s grasping something within
or he’s just trying to keep it warm
is a mystery. Odds are 4-to-1 no cash
shares those five fingers’ holey berth.

Joyous, head high, the urban drifter
throws smiles like sunbeams right into the
faces of these straight-life, shivering souls
with whom he coasts starkly bright morning streets.

Their eyes are up, too, but they focus
past the no one that walks near them,
seeing instead only the faces in the
steamed-up coffee-shop window.

That’s the one framing their same
familiar frowning reflections as yesterday.

—Joseph Hesch

2 thoughts on “Cold Comfort

  1. There is a lot of truth in this. In the many films and documentaries I have watched about homelessness, there is a common thread that runs through all of them: that of being “invisible”. They say that that is what hurts the most – that people look through you like you aren’t even there, ignore you like you’re a ghost. I can’t even begin to fathom how painful that must be.

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