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The Broken-Winged Birds and People  (re-edited 4/5/2323 3:03PM PST) (re-edited 11:14am PST 2/23/2023)

there's a thousand million strays in this world
and I'm one of them
hedged-out of a dream
huddling in the rain
or freezing in the snow
at or near
the end of (their) my line

I've noticed them enough
to really see them
in a thousand million places
talking to themselves at bus stops
living in growing tent cities
alone sitting in a restaurant
all looking around to see if
anyone notices them anymore...

like the man today conversing
with his plate of mashed potatoes and roast beef
asking for his food to be extra-heated
giving the waitress smaller tips as he ate
so he can have the service
he thinks others have
talking to his slice of happiness
that narrow piece of cheese cake
not home-made near the end of his meal

or the cat who we loved and adored (Blaze)
all orange stripes and anticipation
the little fella who
isn't owned or loved or taken care of
by anyone in particular
but still the one who we liked
to feed chunks of roasted chicken...

and who played endlessly on the trunk and front motor
of our golden car
so happy to be noticed and appreciated
and then finally
sitting  alone and still in the middle of the road
high-lighted by the street lamp
in the growing darkness of my rear view mirror
as I looked back
(wiping at tears in my eyes)

not cared for nor belonging to anyone in particular,
he died, unsheltered and needlessly, in a heat wave
for who knows what reason...why?!
because he had too many fleas to come in
and be welcomed
by the person who was supposed to care
and take care of him
because she too was crazy with the heat
(Oh, No, Blaze...)

or the time I sat alone
with the infection in the teaching hospital...
the illness I got caused by a singular cat bite
and made worse by the cure...
an experimental medication, black-boxed in Eurpoe
and the center of a class action law suit in the U.S.

the Intern assigned to treat me,
not bothering to inform me of all of those people
who couldn't be bothered to tell me about
all those other patients who developed Fibromyalgia
and an inability to walk as a result of being dosed
that Intern, put out by how complicated my case had become
and informing me of the possibility
of me loosing my entire right leg
up to the kneww
as if she was ordering off the menu
her favorite desert
its a fact
if you have poor insurance
your outcome is tethered to economics
I still love the cat (Ghuey)
who bit me
didn't know he had type one diabetes
and how his own vet had failed to detect this
in his recent blood work

Ghuey was another one of those
thousands of millions of unwanted strays
we adopted at the shelter
he was looking for his  forever home--
a place where he might invest his heart
and post his bulletin board of plans with
little post-its of hope---
happily ever-afters and catnip
and warm nights sharing a bed
with heated humans

Ghuey and I
both have been that stray cat
huddling in the rain
freezing in the snow
scratching at our fleas
yet still filled with hope
and looking for that bulletin board
to pin love-me, post-its on

if you looked into our eyes
you would find  the liquid gold of hope brimming there
just like its still there in the eyes
of the thousands of millions of strays everywhere

have you looked, do you see?

the lone man talking to his roast beef
the house-less forgotten or complained about
in their highway tents
the forgotten graveyards of the dead,
the hunted animals trying to survive
in their dwindling wildernesses,
the broken-winged birds and people
all  of them...
all over the world?

I wish you could do this.
If not now, one day, maybe you can open your eyes...
To see then feel them all
and what its like to be...
all the broken-winged birds
all the broken-winged people
and the thousands of millions of
strays who need tending and mending.

written directly to the page...return for edits later

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