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A Beggar at the Gas Station

By Elizabeth Smith This girl with flaxen hair and spiders ink-etched in her shoulder says she ranouttagas, has to be in Phoenix real bad. She cradles cardboard— The same scratched-up, disquiet dispatch of so many her before, so many her after:      a student outside Wendy’s, where “we’re hiring” wrapped the windows.      a faker down-dressed, his side-gig by downtown’s arena.      a bozo bluffed “for bread?” but blew off my fresh loaf. Yesterday a twenty passed from Mr. Call to Marty for cardstock— to my husband for wages— to me for house-wife allowance. The fate of my faded, unearned bill lies in this girl with flaxen hair.

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