I finally found a home
after two years being labeled “homeless,”
or, the “chronically homeless”
I wonder if I still am—
I guess I had fit the qualifications
they had written on the questionnaire
My experience of
poverty and violence
put me there
I love my new home
despite the labels
and the ongoing fear of
losing a home
I wonder if I belong anywhere,
even in my own home
I look out the window at the city below,
the wind chill factor way below—
my expectations way below
A man I had given a dollar to months before
brought a mattress to sleep behind the dumpster
right across from my window
I wish I could invite him into the building,
into the warmth
I never will
Every morning as I go to work
or somewhere
I see him
He looks at me
not perverted, not angry,
he looks at me with such sincerity,
with such loneliness
All I could do is look back at him,
into his eyes
and offer him a home,
of sorts

By Darlina
Hard Times Writing Workshop
Winter 2017