TAKING THE HOMELESS CENSUS: A Poem by Alexis Ivy

Today's blog post features "TAKING THE HOMELESS CENSUS," a poem by Alexis Ivy Grandberg, Street Outreach Advocate at CASPAR.

 

TAKING THE HOMELESS CENSUS
 

The corner of the laundromat is occupied
by the ex-con with an exhausting past.
He uses missing socks as mittens,
trades socks for cigarettes.  Homeless:

sitting-on-a-milk-crate homeless,
facial-hair-unkempt homeless,
publically-collecting-cans homeless,
boozing-at-the-duck-pond homeless,
asking-for-the-time homeless. 

Teenagers under bridges living on
benches, or beside the heat vents
in the library, chronic homeless
who find refuge in the holes of
stairwells. The habitually homeless
who have lived four episodes
of homeless in the past two years. 

The girl who stocks the shelves
at 7 Eleven tells me she lives

on her friends’ couches. The man
I buy a muffin for at Dunkin’ Donuts
Sunday mornings goes south
to be homeless in Rhode Island

all winter.  In public alleyway
118 three vets have built a room
out of furniture left on the street
by undergraduates.  A woman
curled up in a Macy’s storefront

leans on the six garbage bags
of her life. On any given night

in January at the Shattuck Shelter
someone will clean up, show up,
ask for a toothbrush, dryness,

five packets of sugar, an outlet.
Sign their name on the sign in 
so that they might be given a bed. 
As for the rest of us, uncounted.

                        -Alexis Ivy

Team Leader
Street Outreach Advocate
First Step, CASPAR

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