The Panhandler – Author Billy Charles Root

Billy Front Cover

The Panhandler

The approach in the long line of approachers waiting for a go shade of green from the overhead stoplight

Just over high noon
Summer day of June
I spot her about six cars ahead
Center road island walking
Ball cap on her head

Slow shuffle, cane in right hand
Wheelchair at the curb
Well-worn cardboard turned to brown paper bag sign in her left hand

Towards me moving
Hard life embedded throughout tan leathery skin
Moving closer, I squirm a bit

As I sit upon a hundred
Meant for a need of my own
Avoid eye contact
Reach down play with my phone

What’s worse?
To make eye contact or not?
With handout or no?

For what I needed,
I couldn’t
No small bills had I
But to not even glance into her face
I wouldn’t
More than ashamed am I

At my door now
Her presents I’m feelin
Eye contact made
But without handout
Feels like I’m steelin

Maybe she’s a player
Tricking suckers of handouts
Maybe a prayer
Praying for a help out

Who am I to say?
One or the other way

I denied her need
For that of my own
Maybe Christly
I not at all have grown

Too many things
In my little world
To do anything
About the bigger world

By the way
In case you were wonderin
What her sign said
It said…

“Hungry need a little help”

© Billy Charles Root

Excerpt from the book “Pressing On”

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1 reply

  1. Yet another sensitive poem by Billy Charles Root!
    You always have a way or putting a finger to the essence of what is.

    Bless you, Billy and Radja!


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