coloring – a poem

I took a train

out of Boston South Station

at 9:30 pm

I got there an hour early

because the restaurant I was in had closed

it was sunday and it was snowing.

I entered the station and the only place to sit

was at a long table

inhabited by an old homeless man

sleeping, slumped on his chair.

on the other side

sat a young man – college aged

eating pizza from a box.

I sat closer to him.

Another person came to the table

carrying their home on their back

and pulled out a coloring book

and bags of colored pencils

I could tell this person too

was seeking refuge

in the

sheltered train station.

This person

sat and colored

from one of those mindfulness coloring books

I thought it was beautiful how their art

kept them occupied from the cold.

A cop came over to wake the sleeping man

“what’s the plan tonight, man?”

the man shook his head

“It’s cold out there. You might want to start thinking of a plan. You can’t sleep in here all night.”

the man nodded.

“you can stay in here a couple more hours but don’t fall back asleep. We can’t have you sprawled out here like that. There’s a kid behind you doing homework for god’s sake”.

at this point, I smiled

the cop had mistaken this homeless person, clearly adult

for just a kid doing homework

just from the way they colored.


the cop walked away

the old man fell back asleep

and the woman just kept on


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