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Skid Row Dogs

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Skid Row Dogs

the dogs along the boulevard

wear boots and heavy jackets

in the sun of summer

under the shade of cinderblock walls

their faces covered with tattoos

drawn with ink pens and razor blades

the dogs walk alone

or sometimes stand

in the rush hour traffic

holding signs

extending their paws

carrying plastic bags

on bicycles they ride through the

streets and alleys

poking their fingers and arms

through the plastic garbage cans

set out by humans.

the dogs sit together sometimes

on the streetcorners

in an abandoned car

and poke needles

into each other’s arms

or light a fire under a glass globe

till it turns into a white cloud

and breathe

the dogs push shopping carts

point back at people who stare and laugh

lift their legs or squat

in open fields, on the sidewalks

in the gardens in front of restaurants

where limousines

slip through rounded driveways

near fountains filled with coins

the dogs lift extend their palms into the air

and catch currency

and pills

and move saturated pillow cases

stained with the last winter’s rain

and the dust from the season previous

while their owners wag their tails

and sniff and smile

keep away brazen nights

under clouds of ice

and sharp stars

call out to dangerous strangers

smell the grass and the flowers

and never punish or complain

© 2022 Fin

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