Brother, once a month in the tub,
They hunt down lice with a pick
In your hair’s tangled mass.
It takes more than just bravery,
But a gentleness almost brutal.
On each occasion it’s
A different health worker who comes
To your shanty. They have their crust!
You spit in the wind, grin,
Surreptitiously look for change.
I give all that I have
Because once you plagued my sleep.
I woke, found eyes wet, tears of their own
Volition, and in those streams we both were.
I imagined you lived in such, the rank,
Matted strands of your head
Suddenly flowing like moss,
As pearls bubbled from lips,
And you were Neptune disguised.
This is why when I see you,
Curb-perched, a paper bag handy,
I hold up a mirror of polite distant respect.
We have this much in common, and fear.
A resident of NY, Stephen Mead is a published artist, writer, maker of short-collage films and sound-collage downloads. If you are at all interested and get the time, Google Stephen Mead and the genres of either writing, art, or both, for links to his multi-media work.