Monday, January 6, 2014

Headline Poem 1/6/14 -- how did he get there?

(Photo credit Jacquelyn Martin AP) 

Today's poem came to me while reading an article in the Los Angeles Times. A man, Nicholas Simmons, went missing on New Year's Day from New York. His family had been frantically searching for him, only to find him by seeing his picture in the newspaper. An AP photographer, Jacquelyn Martin, was assigned to the White House for the weekend, but with President Obama being out of town, decided to look for the perfect shot to show the cold weather in Washington D.C. She introduced herself to the young man, and took his picture. He was with other homeless men near the U.S. Capitol, huddled up against a grate attempting to keep warm. How he got there, and why, is unknown.

how did he get there?

hands frozen from the cold
dirty blanket
far from home
was it purchased from a store,
     bought before?
or did someone share it with him knowing he needed warmth?

nails dirty,
     but not as dirty as theirs
they've been there for months
him, only a few days
     days of haze
clouds of confusion
swirling like flakes of snow
glittering light
spinning darkness

a cat in a window
pressed up against the glass
longing to be out in the world
longing to go back

     how did he get there?

safety is an afterthought
safe from you?
safe from them?
     safe from him?

cold air brings relief
able to feel
limbs numb
     does he feel?

memories hot from sunshine
head there
body here
streets of nothingness
     his face pressed up against the grate

that's him
in the picture
"my baby looks so lost and
i will be spending the rest of my life making him well"

     pictures speak to strangers, are you listening?