girl with red kerchief

from time to time

she appears to me

staring through the window

of our battered Renault

in the same kerchief

patterned with red roses

she wore four decades ago

hugging the same puny dog

scarred by patches of mange

she is pointing with one cupped hand

at her parched lips

chubs bide she says give me bread

it would take so little

to open the window a crack

and toss out a few coins

but the dog looks rabid

and an ocean of children

all with the same pleading eyes

all crying the same chant

is gathering in waves behind her

ready to crash against the car

so we restart the engine

and move on

 

(originally published in Innovate)

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