(Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God)
Down graffiti graced streets, “Hey Zeus. Hey Zeus,”
she calls her fatherless son.
She scans the gang scrawlings for signs of a truce.
Hungry for tomorrow,
she picks through yesterday’s garbage.
She finds a rose and puts it in the night deposit.
As street cleaners hose down a people’s blood,
she clutches the crucifix on the rosary round her neck.
Dry weeds in sidewalk cracks anticipate her tears.
“Hey Zeus. Hey Zeus.”
Her cries echo down concrete canyons.
Her son tarries in the state pen, but she forgets,
and sees him in shadows and vanishing faces.
Hope is the alley cat she feeds, for certain as sunrise
her boy will come and take her to McDonald’s.
They will invite her pals from the street and her friends she has yet to meet.
They will toast each other and all with cold Coca Cola.
Tom Keene September 20, 1995