Stale Bread
by Teresa Sheehan

His grimy pants were ripped
Little fringes of despair
They were waiting to be saved
I was just taking the trash out, and he asked me for bread
He had climbed into the dumpster
His fingers clinging to the edge, his last hope
He just wanted bread, no more
He said he was going to give it to the ducks
Pointing behind him with a hunger-stained finger
His beard hung down on his sweaty army-green shirt
Picking up the pieces of dirt that rested there
I turned and went back inside
He waited for me in the heat
For stale bread
It was off the gourmet rack, Parmesan Oregano
But it was stale
The little specks of spices matched
His crumby beard
And he took it, with a trembling smile

I know he ate it

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Poem Copyright 2003 by Teresa Sheehan


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