The Dog and the Beggar

A busy platform:
Buses come and go;
blue and red buses, mostly.
There’s a limping dog
and a limping man
with one twisted hand
and the other in the shape
of a baseball bat – the end
rounded and smoothly finished.
There’s an old woman too
with a ragged brown cloak;
feet dragging
in the dust the buses raise.
Innumerable feet stamp the sidewalk –
some drag themselves;
some walk upright.
The dog does not howl
but waits for the pieces
of bread
that the man with the baseball bat arm
eats.
He wags his tail –
No fur, all blisters,
and moves his head
with the movement of the bread.
As the man
with his dry mouth
bites deeper into the dough,
the dog comes closer
and wags his tail
with a greater rapidness.
The innumerable feet run –
all at once
towards a blue bus
that smells of vomit
and days old garbage
rotting in the sun.
The filled bus
like a moving house of stinking sweat
moves
and in the cloud of dust
that rises,
the dog stands alone
as the beggar walks past him,
dragging his feet.
The dog looks around –
innumerable feet
in all directions.
He gets up,
dusts himself,
and follows the beggar.

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