Children in Poverty

An Old Story

At dusk on a street of sofas
set on scuffed-floor porches,
a scruffy bunch of barefoot children
is hauling a yellow stepstool
into the tire-worn yard.
On my way to a worry,
I drive slower to consider
what in the world
they are trying to reach
in the growing darkness:
a cat in a tree
the edge of the roof
all the stars in heaven?
Their shared endeavor is enough
to make me want to stop
and tell them an old story
about dreams and ladders
and angels who help us
reach higher and higher,
a gather-round narrative,
its happy ending
like a pair of new shoes
for this passel of the poor
who inherit the earth
others leave behind,
children, who crowd together
in a circle of raised hands
above their upturned faces
with no one else to lift them…
little nubbins with nothing
but a rusty kitchen stool
to seek the unreachable dreams
that shine like starlight
in their little heads at night.

by Anne McCrady

NEWSLINKS: New York Times, Charleston Chronicle, World Bank, WBUR

AUDIOLINK (Anne Reading the Poem): SoundCloud