Poem: Disparity and excuses

Morning commuters stream out of Britomart,
scurrying to work, chattering away on
near-invisible devices about their weekend
plans or today’s urgent meeting or how
she just doesn’t understand why
we can’t renovate the bathroom yet,
sidestepping the pile of unadorned
blankets and the man huddled within.

I note, without ever making eye contact,
his small comforts – the bag of bread rolls,
the newspaper, a discarded disposable coffee cup –
as though they might alleviate lingering guilt
when I walk to Vulcan Lane for my lunch.

But on Queen Street, curled up on cold concrete,
meager belongings pillowing his head,
no food, no blankets, no shoes,
sleeps a man,
and I sidestep him
and keep walking because
I can’t be late for work.

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