Shoeshine Timmy lived in a brownstone
near vacant parking lots, and a street lamp
that sputtered measly light on potholes
riddled with garbage and acid rain.
He lived beneath black starless skies;
prayed to a god who’d jilted him
and thought of Carla who’d married his brother
in the summer of ninety-eight.
‘Be thankful for each blessing,’ a thought said
‘Wake up, seize the day!’ Another yelled
‘Fight! It’s a new day!’ A third whooped
And Shoeshine Timmy muffled his cries
And listened to the same encouraging lies
And I doubt he’ll stop until he’s dead.
© Nitin Lalit Murali (2018)