Directed at me?
What do these cupped hands mean?
Who is that person standing next to me?
A beggar it is: what a sorry sight!
“when did you last take a bath?”,
I want to shout.
But something is expected of me;
A small coin, maybe?
Clearly both are sorely lacking.
And I, standing near the ATM,
Clutch a few crisp banknotes,
Lest they fall and get lost in this urban multitude.
Multitude? Hah! The danger is more specific!
What do I do now?
I dare not look at him,
Aware already of the decision I will take;
No, I will not look at him,
How dare he look at me like that?
Shaking my head,
Heading towards the bus station,
I leave him and his misery behind.
A veil falls back on that episode;
Exit beggar with not even
A single applause.
What a lousy role you’ve got!
I refuse to participate in that masquerade.
Full of self-righteous ire,
Since I have,
And he does not,
I dismiss his poverty;
Written a few years back, found it in a pile of papers and made some corrections.