Ann Arbor Review


Alan Britt
Shutta Crum
Jumoke Verissimo
Las Slomovits
Richard Kurtz
Lyn Lifshin
Duane Locke
Serena Wilcox
Jerry Blanton
Dami Ajayi
Odimegwu Onwumere
Joanie Freeman
Dike Okoro
Amit Parmessur
Paul B. Roth
Divya Rajan
Kim Keith
Fred Wolven
C. Derick Vann
Al Ortolani
Steve Barfield
Jim Davis
Chris Lord
Jennifer Burd
Will Swanson
Isabel Kestner

Lisa Schmidt
Running Cub
Tolu Ogunlesi



Just a little ways past the edge of the city, in a patch of evergreens
by the westernmost exit from the highway,
some of the homeless had built
a small tent city.
Not much--

five or six tents of varying sizes, shapes and colors, a few lean-to's,
blue tarp spread over poles angled against tree trunks,
a couple of cardboard refrigerator boxes--
the odd ends of things with which
to keep warm.

I don't know who else it bothered, or how, them being there.  I know
it bothered me every time I drove by the campsite
on my way home from work.
As I approached the exit
and looked right,

there, in the stretch of woods along the highway, so uniform until
blue, green, and orange plastic suddenly showed
through the trees, and the misery of lives
so much more exposed and also
so much more hemmed in

than mine--more obviously dependent on God's grace and human
than the lives of anyone I know, and who knows which is greater,
their despair or mine, knowing I would not risk
doing something dramatic
like inviting

all of them to supper at my house.  Because then what--after supper--
what would I say to them?  "Thanks for coming, safe journey home,
sleep well, see you around?"  And then what about
the next time I approach the exit--just
not look right?

Today, when I approached the exit and started looking right, I was sure
the camp was further from the exit than I'd remembered.
At 70 miles per hour, I suddenly wasn't sure
where it had been, and it looked different.
A few hundred yards later,

a clear-cut stretch, where every single tree had been mowed down.
                                                                           I thought,
clearly I was not the only one bothered by seeing them here.  And
                                                                           what a
solution, I thought, to the homeless problem--make the trees
pay for the sin of the homeless, the sin of losing
nearly everything.  Yes, that'll work,

let's make the homeless even more homeless, make them walk even
and still further away from those of us who are so
bothered by seeing them, if not in our midst,
then at our frayed, and continually
unraveling edges.


Laszlo Slomovits, Ann Arbor

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