Little Lost Boy
A puppy- smaller than a man's palm- cries
for its mother. Too young for open eyes.
Its legs barely move. But its hunger hurts.
It crawls in circles on weak paws; whimpers
come out in bursts of fatigue and loneliness.
Passersby barely miss it with heavy feet
as they bustle along on the sidewalk.
A tiny gray puppy. Midnight nose.
Red from heat. Red from pain.
In the center of the street. A gray mutt.
Abandonment forced by disease and a cart wheel
rolling over her weakened neck.
She lay in the street. Silent.
No one touches her body. Did not even grimace
as the fleas and flies molested her.
Death's grasp is warmer than the streets of New York.
The skyline city that stabs arrogantly at the heavens
with quick-growing factories and the smoke of success.
Aside from the crow- yet crouching at the center
of shuffling immigrants with the unrealized
crushed under the weight of overpopulation-
was a little lost boy, picking at an old scab
on his bare foot with a soot-covered finger.
He was lucky to have all ten. Trapped in The Jungle.
Soft sewage dirt served as his bed.
His mattress and blanket.
He hasn't eaten in days. It goes unnoticed.
His foot is bleeding again, but he lost interest.
So he sprints down the sidewalk. Against traffic.
Dirty looks are passed his way. Newcomers.
They aren't used to being tossed aside like garbage
out the top window of a tenement building. Bruises
and starvation scar the mummified bodies as they drift
down the streets. To and from factories.
Not enough to live on, at least.
His stained porceline feet are pummeled with debris.
Broken glass bottles and bolts from factories.
Broken bones from the butchers.
He doesn't stumble. Leaves behind tiny drops
of innocent blood. And moves on. Quickly.
Tiny legs are pumped. A blitzkrieg against the sidewalk.
Blond hair black from smoke. Clingy from sweat.
He halts at the alleyway he calls home. Dark and empty.
Zoe Guillory's Other Poems
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(March 26, 1874 – January 29, 1963)
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