Friday, 5 June 1998

Beggars on a Train


She can't have been more than seven
an "almost" accordion
tunelessly, noisily but not loud
clutched in her little hands

she came to each of us
her eyes looking, seeing, knowing
- to me she held out her hand
and maybe 30 francs i gave
she ran back to the old women
old before their time

she showed them the riches in her hand
looking to me with a smile
they all looked

soon, the oldest woman was sitting,
staring, pleading
across from me
i did not know her words
but her meaning was clear
3 children, i have 3 children to feed

again i gave
more she pleaded
until i was without change
enough only to escape
still the guilt of my meager wealth i felt

she had eyes still quite beautiful
quite beautiful

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