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The Man in the Alley
by Emma Caplinger


I saw him before the sun did–
his wide face stubbled and dew-chilled,
still and sitting against the damp concrete.

He looked so much like my brother:
his dark hair stuck to his forehead,
broad nose freckled and pale.

I stopped to watch him
and was watching still when I saw them coming,
flashing red against the rain-blue morning.

When they heaved him onto their cart
and secured his legs to the stretcher,
his icy, nowhere-gazing eyes matched the sky.

And as they pulled the zipper shut,
I thought of calling home.


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