Nancy Goldberg Tread Softly in Dublin

In front of the blue stained glass sundial near St. Patrick’s Cathedral,

a man sleeps on a bench cradling his head with swollen dirty hands,

feet clad only in black woolen socks as the rain sprinkles down.

Under the sheltered doorway of a bank after closing,

a couple unloads plastic bags stuffed with sweaters and sock balls.

They unroll a thin yellow foam pad and blankets,

preparing their street bed.

Three twenty-somethings stand waiting

for the red man to change to green.

Suddenly, one of them, with skinny tattooed arms

sticking out of his black shirt sleeves,

drops to his knees, vomiting green bile,

and stays crouched, shoulders heaving.

Dwarfed in the stainless-steel hostel kitchen,

a tiny old woman, white hair cascading to her shoulders,

surrounded by millennials with backpacks and man buns,

spouts anti-Semitic rants to anyone who will listen.

She tugs on my shirt, quizzing me about the origins of

purple paisleys encircling my cuff.

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