They’re here, but why?
Teenagers with their bottles of window cleaner.
I have so many questions leafing
through old yellowed clips and standing
shoulder to shoulder in a warm room.
It feels like history, but the pieces are missing—
the questions are there, but the answers are
mixing with soapy water, tossed out at the end of the day.
The nightly news says one thing:
patrols try to deter aggressive panhandling,
and after several incidents–
a squeegee crackdown.
But there remains a city divided,
forced to confront Baltimore’s
poverty on their way to work.
Called low-intensity extortion or an entrepreneurial spirit.
They’re still here
shaping our commutes, puncturing our skyline
and draw a heart on a driver’s windshield.
How can they just appear on the streets
like cabbage patch children out of intersections,
like roses out of concrete?
Is that why they were missing from the pages?
Expectations too high that they could get theirs
because someone deemed them
menace to society and unworthy as
they exist in pursuit of spare change.
If only we could make change to spare.
Why are they missing from history?
Baltimore Beat is running poems from participants in the group Writers in Baltimore Schools, which offers programming that builds skills in literacy and communication while creating a community of support for young writers.