February 8, 2019 Poetry , POETRY / FICTION

flickr photo



Mark Kodama




The Homeless Girl



Angel, a teenage girl, stood on the steps

Of the great stone church, asking

Passers by for spare change.


At Thomas Circle in Washington, D.C.

The church – with its Ionic pillars

And geometric shapes – was built

In the Classical style, looking more

Like a Greek temple than

A modern American church.


The greenish blue bronze statue

Of Civil War Gen. George Thomas

“The Rock of Chicamauga,” stood

Silent watch on his great war steed.


Angel – dressed in new jeans,

a clean plaid cotton shirt, and

Bright orange basketball shoes –

Called out to me: “Mister,

do you have a dollar?”


I fished out a dollar from my wallet

And gave her change from my pocket.


My young friend Matt said:

“I used to do volunteer work

At a homeless shelter. I never

Give money to the homeless –

Food yes, but never money.


They will only use it

To buy drugs and alcohol.

Besides we pay taxes.

It is the government’s responsibility

To take care of the poor, not us.”


Later Matt gave Angel a sandwich

As I surreptitiously watched.

As soon as Matt left,

Angel threw the sandwich under a bush.


The next day, when Angel asked me

For a dollar, I gave her fifty cents.

When she said “Is that all?”

I replied through clenched teeth:

“You should be grateful

For anything I give you.”


The next day, she was gone.


Summer turned to fall

And fall turned to winter.

I wore my new camel-haired overcoat

To protect me from the cold winds.


Angel stood on the steps of the church

In the same clothes she wore during the summer.

She was rail thin with her hair wild

And unkempt. Her clothes were

Now ragged and dirty.


She shivered as she peered at me

Through her one good eye

Her left eye socket red and empty.

She called out to me:

“Mister, do you have a dollar?”






Mark Kodama

Mark Kodama is a trial attorney and former newspaper reporter. He is currently working on Las Vegas Tales, a work of philosophy, sugar coated in meters and rhymes and told though stories. He lives in the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area with his wife and two sons.

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