On the streets — Harrison Haines

Savior of us all

He shuffled cards on cardboard, pulled out kings over sixes.

He shuffled cards on a cardboard box
where cats batted the hind quarter of a rat
in the sweat of a Manhattan afternoon in July.
His enthusiasm reeked, five teeth shingled,
ever smiling at the dupes who laid down
cash to be give-a-shit gullible:
their card up — a joker, sure — trampled by
a fistful of kings, for just a block away
in the shadow of a warehouse awning, sat
another one: this royal, sending dice
into the melee of fools,
pulling down the vanity of sixes
aside a newspaper lean-to. And just
across the street where discarded bottles
wait new life,
there he was, there he was, another
guiler made of refuse, another
stain on the fabric of a quilted town,
another sceptered chump in the wreck of life,
another Savior of us all.

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