The Boy on the Corner
by Brenda Roberts

He used to be sexy.
His dark hair smooth, groomed,
and his eyes bright --
beaming the joy that
connected the crinkled
laugh-lines to his mouth
lifting the corners until his
teeth gleamed in the bar's light.

He used to be hungry for
touch, for the excitement
of a one night stand. His
body begging for love,
bared shoulder whispering
"I'm ready for anything."

I used to watch him on his
corner, near the jutting brick
of the bar, flirting with whomever
came by. He did not care who took him home,
only that they held him, for an instant
loved him . . . filling his needs for closeness.

He used to know every policeman
by name. Who'd bust him and who,
for a price or a lay, would turn a blind eye.

He used to be a gigolo, a fancy
piece on some old crone's arm.
A male whore selling his wares to
all who'd buy them.

I saw him last week ... his hair
dirty, disheveled. His eyes dull
and his smile no longer reaching
them. Today, near the jutting
wall of that corner bar, they found
him. Beaten, bloody, no longer
hungry for love, no longer caring
who held him.

His funeral is tomorrow.

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