nowicki
Homeless Girl
by Sera Waters

Empty streets when the bustle has gone
Cold pavement step or doorway as home
Shuffling my feet trying to keep warm
Sinking a bottle to remind me I’m done
No more hope yet I carried on

Two pints of sherry sunk before one
Warming belly and warming tongue
I have no hope yet I carried on

Sifting through rubbish in shiny blue bins
Refuse dining on take-out remains
Longing for a sandwich or something still warm
There is no hope yet I carried on

“Spare some change
I need to phone my mum”
People pause and look down upon, me
And say “No, get a job. Go away”
Then ring the police to come
There is no hope here, yet I carried on

No warm breath beside me
Or hand to guide me
No place to call my home
Part the invisible masses
Walking alone
I find no hope yet I carried on

From two until four
I sleep on snatched bench
In railway station
Then am moved on
Warm floor of public convenience room
Doorway, alleyway, passageway my home
Huddled only in clothes I stand up in
Choking on the vomit that society brings
Who would miss me when I am gone?
Yet courageously I carried on

Each day the same day
Same early rising
Same alleyway
Same pint of milk
“Borrowed” from same doorway
Same wait and waiting
For hope to come
And for my sweet Father
To carry me home

IMAGE: “Alley Cat” by Rachel Christine Nowicki. Prints available at fineartamerica.com.

NOTE FROM THE AUTHOR: My creative process was to simply step back into the shoes of the young person I was using memory and imagery as well as true life encounters to express the hardship, faith, and courage of the situation. I wrote this piece stream of consciousness and shared it openly although somewhat emotionally at poetry open mic evenings. This helped me build confidence in my story and in my voice as a person of worth with something to say, something easily masked by the brutality of the experience itself. It’s trendy now to help the homeless but back then, people were spat on and squats set on fire. This piece was written as a need, a healing need to speak up and out. I feel it has managed to reach its audience but has allowed me the free expression so denied me at the time.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Sera Waters is a new innovative writer with heartfelt passion for poetry, and the gritty reality of life. She discovered the power of healing through writing and now uses this to inspire others through her words we can see a darker shade of life and of trauma survival. Her work is filled with faith and hope both as a writer and in social comment. She has published her own poetry blog The Voice of Sophia, where much of her work can be viewed and is enjoyed widely by an international audience. “Homeless Girl” was written as a reflection on her experiences when she was a young homeless adolescent in Brighton and the south west of England at the tender age of 17 in 1989.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: There are no photographs of me at this time, but safe to say the waif that arrived at the train station in Wales, stomach shrunk, unkempt and unable to sleep for fear of what the dark would bring is an image never far from my parents’ mind. It took 27 years to heal that child and she lives well cared for in me to this day. This photo is from a different period in my life.