Crippled: Just another Paterson Poem




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I thought it was dead at first,

a small, fury lump on the sidewalk of Paterson,

so mishapened and gross I stopped to look,

only to have it move.

It's tail disturbing the dust

as it attemped to hobble away,

seeking distance to escape my stare.

It only had three legs,

balancing on them as if born with the condition.

When it halted, it studied me,

small paws folded together

in front of itself as if in prayer.

Then, it moved again,

but towards me instead of away,

crawling up to my feet.

A nearby garage mechanic came out of his shop

and saw this, and advised me to kill it.

"I can't," I said,

thinking I would hear the silent scream

of the creature for a week in my head if I did,

thinking, too, that the mechanic would,

but he only shook his head.

"Well, if you like the little monster so much

oick it up and take it home with you,

I don't want it sitting there in front of my place. It's bad for business."

But what does anyone do with a crimpled mouse?

I nudged it away with my foot and walked on,

thinking about it for a whole block,

thinking about it might survive the streets of Paterson,

wondering how I had.



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