to a shelter kid who died

to a shelter kid who died

 

you were 

one of the kids who raced

into the shelter kitchen

slammed backpack on the table

picked at the food on the stove

talked the loudest

 

you were 

getting it together you said

going back to Texas to live

with an old friend

fleeing a city

that had let you down

 

high rents

no jobs

too many merchants & neighbors

blaming you

for what they thought

was wrong with everything

 

too many men

willing to buy a pound of your flesh

making you feel wanted

then throwing you back onto the street

to sleep under the rainbow flag

in the plaza

 

you’re gone now

someplace I can’t comprehend

certainly not Texas

safer perhaps 

more likely another stop

on the endless streets you traveled