The Bum on the Sidewalk

She wasn’t really a bum.

She had a name.


She had a face too

but she asked me not to

photograph it.

But what really attracted her to me

was she was reading a book.

You don’t really associate street people

with reading.

And it was a big book.

Like a Russian novel.

Dostoevsky or Tolstoy maybe.

But it was a home grown novelist.

Bryce Courtenay

a true story about a girl called Jessica.

She was on page 237 and she was only halfway

into it.

We talked briefly.

I put some coins in her cap and left her to it

on the cold sidewalk.

I would like to have known her story

but you can’t be intrusive.

16 thoughts on “The Bum on the Sidewalk

  1. My father was against novels in general. He felt they weren’t good for hard-headed people. He would’ve pointed to that chick and declaimed, “You see? Reading like that got her there.”

    Liked by 1 person

    • that attitude still persists; she was young, she might not have been a street person long; yes, that attitude still persists thoughto see a young person read a fat novel on the cold sidewalk is rare —


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