Through My Windshield


I walked up First Avenue

in Pioneer Square,

at night when they told me

to keep an eye

on my car

and my belongings.

I neared the corner

to where I parked, when

she landed

in my sight.


She was asking

passerbys for change

and would soon be asking me.

I wanted to focus on the quiet

of the night, how the street lights shone,

how soon I would be home,

but I saw her.


Her black skin, her


hair, her wide eyes.

I knew what she would want

from me when she asked.

But what would the change

in my pocket do?


It wouldn’t provide a meal,

or a place to sleep.

It wouldn’t overturn the laws

pushing people out

in the streets the way they did her.

Mayor declares homelessness a state of emergency,

while those walking in front of me carry change that stays

in their pocket.


But what did I know about her?

I could ask.

But I had a plane to catch.


She saw me,

and asked for change.

I don’t have anything.

You don’t have a dollar in your pocket? Anything?

I’m sorry.


I walked past,

sliding her with a wipe so I could see

one last time

the Pioneer Square

Seattle wants you to see.


The bars,

the architecture,

the bookshops,

the furniture stores.


I got in my car

and rode further

up First Avenue.

Through my windshield

I saw her

still looking.

They told me

to keep my eye on the road

but I wanted to see

the Pioneer Square

Seattle doesn’t want you to see.


But from inside here,

she wasn’t going to land

in my sight

and I wasn’t going

to see her at all.






2 thoughts on “Through My Windshield

  1. When I was young my mom would pass by them, telling them she didn’t have change. She’s not a bad person, just didn’t want to take the time to get out her wallet, or risk them spending it on drugs or something. I always felt bad for them. What if I end up in their situation somehow, and no one spared me change. But I knew that they had something

  2. Maybe she wanted to be found? Not in a savior so to speak…but save her from herself? Don’t underestimate the power of being noticed…touched…recognized.

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