She must have been shy once,
As she tugged her headscarf a little tighter around her head.
Battered and worn-out, its color must have been
Outrageously bright long ago
But now it was just faded grey.
"I haven't eaten today. Spare some change?"
I looked at her bare feet, dirty and rough
She hadn't owned shoes for quite some time,
"I am hungry. Please spare some change, sir."
I can hear the slightest quiver in her voice
As she tugs her scarf tighter.
She must have been shy once
When her headscarf was outrageously bright red
Or pink or purple.
When her feet had shoes
Or at least a pair of sandals.
But as she reminded me for the third time,
She was poor and hungry,
And shame does not fill her belly.
She can not afford to be shy.
Yet I could not meet her half-hidden eyes,
As if I was holding enough shame for the both of us.
She must have been shy once.
But now she is just hungry.
A white-collar worker by profession and a poet by passion, Imtiaj Alom currently lives in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A member of Wordsmiths of Kuching and KL Poetry Share, he performed in Word of Mouth, If Walls Could Talk, Inqbate, Berani Bersama and regularly performs in KL Poetry Shares Bi-weekly gathering.
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