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.


but where?

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.