A gaunt, tattooed woman
mutters to herself,
crosses Del Monte Boulevard
against the light.
Shailene makes her way to McDonalds,
time for a cup of coffee,
quick wash in the public restroom
before she reports to the traffic island
where she’ll hold a cardboard sign,
beg for food or cash,
watch for the cops.
On a good day, she’ll collect enough
to buy lunch and dinner,
tuck something away for breakfast
after a night sleeping
on the cold ground.
Sunrise finds her sprawled
against paved bike trail,
head cradled upon a black garbage bag
which holds rags and trinkets,
what’s left of home.