a day in the slum

No one drove the beggars away

Murderers and thieves gathered to argue

about truth, and love, and virtue.

As rabid sleeping dogs lay,

and the houses piled in solemn disarray,

Nothing could be made anew,

and one pays where one is overdue.

where the rest of us kneel and gently cast away.

Hundreds in the shore and wrestle

even for the rain, for the thirst, for water

it just gets harder and heavier

this lightness, brightness, this saddle

to grow up and blow away like dust

and never anchor what they must.

A Day in the Slum
Alicia Khoo
New York City, October 2011

(Cento Sonnet Poem,

inspired by Shantaram)

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2 thoughts on “a day in the slum

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