She sags against the pier her filthy robe
Too blear and dull to clean or wash or dress
Matted hair in lousy, rank disharmony
Her blackened fingers rhythmically harass
The stench fouled air.
She stinks of piss.
Pedestrians avert their eyes and skirt
Discard a glance of pity or disgust
The city gleams with commerce, shines with industry
In this showcase of the prosperous, there’s no place
For such as her.
They’ll move her on.
Along the foreshore lights begin to glimmer,
The leisured and the young to come and play
Lover’s murmured voices drifting promises
To the twilight, not for them the close of day
A world of hope.
Between the pylons, wakened to the darkness
Her every sharpened sense alert and bared
She battles them again; again remembering.
With all her strength, defends, she sees them clear
Those torments past
That shroud her still.
Incidentally (or perhaps not so incidentally...) I was searching for an image for this post online, and found an Australian charity that provides sleeping swags for homeless people. The image above is from their site. If you are interested, find it at: http://www.swags.org.au/index.html