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Twist of Fate

     TWIST OF FATE

 

I passed him by the other day,

And sadness made me turn away.

A shapeless lump, once tall and straight,

Reduced to naught by gin and fate.

 

A paper sack held in his hand,

Inside, a pint of cheapest brand.

He raised the pint to sun-cracked lips

And gulped it down, beard catching drips.

 

Unshaven face and uncombed hair.

Bloodshot eyes with vacant stare.

Tobacco spittle on his chin.

His shirt held closed by safety pin.

 

A shapeless coat worn quite awry.

Another pin held shut his fly.

No shoes upon his leathered feet.

His home, a box upon the street.

 

Unwashed so long, except by rain

From in the gutter where he’d lain.

And when he dozed, a cloud of flies

Investigated nose and eyes.

 

I could not shake him from my mind

And so to let my thoughts unwind,

Returned to aid him, if I could,

But there was naught where box had stood.

 

So there’s no chance to change his plight,

For whiskey claimed his life last night.

 

9/5/92 –  Phyllis DeWitt-VanVleck

 

1’st … Arkansas NPD 1994                                        

 

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