Living for Free by Jennifer Lagier

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.

Jennifer Lagier has published ten books and in literary magazines. She taught with California Poets in the Schools, co-edits the Homestead Review, helps coordinate monthly Monterey Bay Poetry Consortium Second Sunday readings. Forthcoming books: Harbingers (Blue Light Press), Scene of the Crime (Evening Street Press), Camille Abroad (FutureCycle). Website: : : Poetry by Jennifer Lagier : :

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