by Austin Alexis

Selfishly, she threw rice to sparrows,
cascading pigeons and a few rooks,
despite people yelling at her:
“You’re feeding the park’s rats, too!”
She stood tall, a beggar woman
enjoying her afternoon pastime.
She thrived as a homeless woman
overflowing with goodwill.
She was Saint Rose of Lima,
her limbs a lengthy perch for pigeons
made ravenous by her palms of rice.
She was Reverend Al Sharpton
as she preached to a congregation
with her eloquent gestures.

Her actions were her poetry.
With her soiled eyes closed
and her fingers sprinkling grains,
she existed as the blind poet
surrounded by a throng of daughters,
their throaty coos a low tremolo
she heard as a hymn or an ode.
Standing beneath an oak’s canopy,
her tree-sway motion nearly invisible,
her pants legs crusted with dirt
in a tree bark’s fashion,
she possessed an inner smile
as she purred and glowed,
reveled in inspiration, persisted,
fascinated by her own compassion.



Austin Alexis has published in Barrow Street, The Ledge: Poetry and Fiction, Flash Boulevard, The Journal, Poetica Review (UK), Poetry Pacific (Canada) and elsewhere. He is the author of Privacy Issues (Broadside Lotus Press). He has received scholarships from the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference and the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico.


Filed under Poetry

3 responses to “Charity

  1. Austin Alexis

    Thank you, Hawaii Pacific Review, for publishing my poem “Charity.”

  2. John Maney

    Powerful poem. Great imagery.

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