A new home called frostbite

January 7, 2019 /

 

According to the Merced City and County Continuum of Care, the City of Merced homeless count dropped very slightly from 318 to 310 in 2018, though the number of displaced people in Merced County rose from 454 to 514.

 

 

By: Rachel Livinal
A blanket offered to a homeless person.

 

Your words from the sickness

That’s been infecting your mind

And swelling your feet

Stuck in my head tonight

 

As I drove out of the parking lot

I saw you

Clutching the rag

That gave you some warmth

We made eye contact

And my empathy

Signaled

I needed to break the boundaries

Broadcasting our society

 

So I parked again

And walked up to the front

I gave you a blanket

And watched

The fear in your eyes

Escape

 

As the tears welled up

Sanity hit through

Only for second

But then your words clouded

And your ranting started to spew

 

Bipolar and Schizophrenia

You shouted out addresses

Of loved ones

Who left you

Alone with your demons

You scratched at your clothes

Infested with dirt

And clung to your body

Soaked in heroin

All drugs you thought could mask the relentless pain

In your head

 

You said

They wanted to put you

In an institution

But even your unawareness

Couldn’t give you the benefit

For the cold

Was blowing your feet

And socks weren’t coming

 

I only have

These cheese sticks

I bought in a hurry

For my lunches

I’m sure your empty stomach

Would appreciate it

As you were yelling

It would give you some strength

 

But cheese sticks

Can’t fix the swirls in your head

I wish I could pull out

Those memories of the streets

Instead

 

People in your position

Remind me of my luck

That I have a home

With a warm fresh coat

And no fear of being struck

 

I have no fright

Of extreme poverty

On a cold December night

Outside of a Target parking lot

I have no fright

of bare feet

and a decayed young mind

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