Standing at the offramp
He huddles into a hoodie too thin
To block the winter wind.
Head cast down, his gaze
On mismatched shoes
One black and muddied
The other orange with a once white strip
Both torn and worn
As if pulled from a dump heap.
When did his life become mismatched?
Was he born to disfunction and despair?
Did chemicals fill his youthful mind
Starting small then growing in need
Until that rush of liquid in veins
Became heart’s beat.
Perhaps delusions set him
Wandering down paths unknown
Stumbling over cracked and broken concrete
Until his feet were bare.
Maybe he is a victim
Of an abandoning economy
Cleaved from the life he once knew.
I am blessed with pair after pair.
Black, red, tan, blue, satin, and sparkling.
While the homeless man
Shuffles to nowhere
In his mismatched shoes.
About Laurie: The author of Forest Secrets and the soon to be released Finding Joy as well as The Pharaoh’s Cry, Portal Shift, Kidnapped Smile, and Dragon Sky of the fantasy series The Artania Chronicles, Laurie Woodward co-wrote Dean and JoJo: The Dolphin Legacy. Her poetry has been published in multiple journals and anthologies and she was a collaborator on the popular anti-bullying DVD Resolutions. Bullied as a child, Laurie is now an award-winning peace consultant, poet, and blogger who helps teach children how to avoid arguments, stop bullying, and maintain healthy friendships. She writes on the Central Coast of California. More about her work can be found at artania.net