Selling Hope By Uma Venkatraman

Selling Hope

I walk by him every day
this man who sits in his wheelchair
bandaged stumps sticking out
proudly defiant
He holds out tissue packets
hoping someone will spare a dollar
Some stop
press a coin in his palm
and go on their way

I do too
but he sits inside
my head now

I see this couple
blind and old
and the tissue packets
they wave in the air
hoping someone
will buy them
for whatever
they can spare
They fumble
for the money
a sightless smile
flits across their faces
Some do tap them
on their arm

I do too
but they stay
in my vision now

I notice this boy
young and crippled
slumped on the floor
defeat etched
in every drooping line
of his broken body
He clutches
tissue packets
so tightly
there is no room
in his hand
for the coin
he so desperately wants
His eyes gaze
at the pitiful haul
on the tattered cloth
spread in front of him
Some stop to drop a bill
ignore the tissues
and stride away

I do too
but he walks
with me now

Waiting to be used
and discarded
packets of tissues
pile up in my bag
not so different
from those
who sell them

By Uma Venkatraman


Living in Singapore, India-born Uma Venkatraman is a journalist with a passion for poetry. She has been published in anthologies such as Good Morning Justice, Along The Shore and Beyond The Hill, and online in Pink Panther Magazine, The Rising Phoenix Review, Plath Poetry Project and Amethyst Review. She has also taken part in Tupelo Press’ 30/30 Project.

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