by Deborah H. Doolittle
We praise the dog when it raises
its paw. Laugh out loud when its
lolling tongue belies the earnest
effort of his concentration.
On the streets, we strategically
place our feet, avoid the vaguely
unfocused gaze directed in
our direction. Ignore the hand,
held open like a cup. The tin
cup positioned on the pavement
could be a wishing well, could be
the next fountain of good fortune.
Funny how the once colorful
clothes have faded to dingy gray,
their silhouettes blend with the stone
and concrete steps, how light itself
bends around them as if they were
not even there, until the dog
licks the outstretched hand that
doesn’t feed him. And then we laugh
at ourselves, drop the dollar in.