I see wounded souls through my window as they pass by on the search for basic survival. If I didn't watch them pass, I wouldn't understand. But, I do understand, because there are more shadows than ever before.
Many more shadows that haunt life itself. Even mine.
Shadows that cover all genders, race and inclinations of humanity. But they all share the same misery of poverty. Some a little better, but only by a whisper. Yet the procession passes, oblivious, as if time itself was consumed by shadow too.
Always with a thin hoodie, regardless of the weather, rides the young man on a skateboard that looks like it was the original proto-type itself. Doesn't make much difference though, since his sneakers are as ragged as the skateboard.
Passing after Christmas, he sported new sneakers. Skateboard remained the same and the hoodie had duct tape holding the cuffs on the sleeves. Poverty choices do hurt.
He places the cane in front of him. Leans his stooped shoulders forward, then moves his feet to meet his cane. A long time in passing for this old shadow. It won't be too long now until this shadow passes no more.
He does not dream of having a mobility scooter to make his life easier. Too complicated to get one and who is to help him do so, when he is but a shadow to the world?
Wearing the red tunic that proclaims she works at the grocery store. Her tunic is new and makes her old clothes look even worse. A slight bounce in her step on the way to work, but shuffles on the way back. Broken by endless hours on her feet.
Youth wasted in a go nowhere job and a life of misery on minimum wage. She has begun to limp.
They always help each other; arms locked, as they struggle to walk. Even in old age, does love endure. He pulls their dilapidated grocery cart. One of the wheels is a bit larger than the other. Poverty teaches innovation.
Staggering, he drinks from a bottle hidden in a paper bag. I found one of his bottles once. Blue Nun. Cheap, temporary escape from austerity not of his own making.
I know him. He once had a business doing yard work, but who can now afford such luxury? He no longer cares about himself and wants to leave this life. In his eyes you see he will succeed.
She never stops talking out loud to herself as she passes. Wrapped in a ragged blanket, she offers her aged body to anyone willing to give her a couple of dollars. Her toes peek through her shoes and her hair is falling out.
Twice the old woman has tripped on the broken asphalt of the street. Her glasses no longer grace her nose, so she walks cautiously. Her grocery bag is always filled with cheap, dried noodle soup. Poverty has its delights, I guess.
She knocks on doors looking for a handout. Sometimes with her grubby children by her side, hoping it will help gather a few extra coins from those just slightly better off than her situation.
There is no life in those eyes of hers. Her children are well behaved, but their eyes are as haunting as their mother.
He has no thumbs. Lost them on a job whose owner had no insurance and now, no business. Sometimes, he stops other shadows passing and asks for help buttoning his ragged coat against the cold Winter winds or to tie the shoelaces on his sneakers that are only half there.
Her wheelchair must have come from the dump. She wheels herself with one of the wheels bent so slightly, that the wobble is tolerable. I don't think anyone has come forward to help her get disability and a mobility chair.
Shadows passing with no light to cast the soul.