Death of an Unknown Indian

The day is over, my work is done,
And towards home my feet now tread;
Wish I do that I had at least a moped,
But right now I know I can’t afford one.

The shadows are long, the dusk is deep,
As if there are of jewels in the sky a mother lode;
I have no choice but to walk on the road
The footpath’s cracked and the gutter be steep.

Horns around me, ahead, behind, at my sides,
Scurrying home before the night erupts, ants like me,
And yet unlike, for some have, to go back to, a family;
Mine’s far away, farther than tonight my mind rides.

My feet complain, tired are they, weary and dry,
I tell them to shut up and press forward one then the other;
This keeps me fit, I know, free of fat’s bother,
This long walk every night to where I can lie.

I’ve been here for years and years,
And yet feel as new as the day I arrived,
But the hope’s gone back home, joy underived,
While the city holds me back from a return’s fears.

My wages shall come and go tomorrow,
And then nothing more for a month or so,
The one time when my family hears my hello
And all the true words we save and swallow.

I sense it behind me then, a change in the wind, a noise,
But before I can turn or move, it is on me –
Unforgiving, unrepentant, it strikes me as if a flea
And then I see feet coming closer, a boy’s.

He looks at me, I know, but pity or fear I know not;
He waits but a second, and I know before he does
That he shall run, that there shall soon be some fuss,
That if he’s lucky, his only witness will soon just be rot.

I remember then, a flash of memory so clear,
A scene like this, a road like this, a shape like this,
I walked past with a prayer for the lost little miss
And just hoped it wasn’t anyone’s darling dear.

Now the dark spreads, the sun has set,
And I think of tomorrow’s money unsent,
Perhaps enough by itself for my father the assent
That I’d finally lost life’s funny little bet.