A whisper slips between their whiskers
can you give me some change?
I hear it, a whisper louder 
than laughter in the queue for lattes.
My eyes glimpse a grey hulk
grime stiffening the lower third of a parka
stuffing exposed from tears around the pockets.
They flow between clusters of customers 
that ripple away from their wake. 
They’ll only have a face if I look up.
If I look up, our gaze will meet,
they’ll catch sight of my face
— no longer different —
they’ll trap me into engagement.
Nothing wrong with that
except          safety nets prevented my fall
not theirs. I wonder why, Fate bestowed
unearned blessings on me,
except          I fear looking up, 
I am three-year old again
hiding behind fingers 
now, I am twenty-three
hiding myself from their world
behind my computer screen. 
Still, I heard.
I cannot un-hear.
I mumble an inaudible sorry
as they shuffle their world away. 
Marie-Andree Auclair’s poems have appeared in a variety of print and online publications in the United States, Canada, Ireland and in the United Kingdom. Her chapbook, Contrails was released by In/Words Magazine and Press/Ottawa. She lives in Canada.

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