Slow Exodus

Four squatters huddle in tents,
makeshift and close to traffic
on the narrow cement verge
of a six-lane boulevard.

They dwell in rush hour's stink,
until winter stalks them
and heavy snow threatens.

They all agree to vacate
their flimsy roadside homes
before nightfall when city plows
will smash them flat.

The oldest man leaves first,
scores a ride to who-knows where.
The youngest one walks and walks
squinting into the wind.

The last two shrug and wait
longer than they should,
until a black-and-white stops,
and jail for vagrancy sounds fine.

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