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VPR's coverage of arts and culture in the region.

Young Writers Project: In The City, In The Night

Courtesy, Susan Reid
Eliza Goodell of Newbury is a junior at Oxbow High School. She says she is inspired to write by “… the complexity of human life – how intricate everyone’s stories are.” ";s:3:"uri

In the city, in the night,
a ticket stub sits on the salty, damp sidewalk.
The play title, “A Christmas Carol” is barely visible,
concealed by bootprints and slush.

In the city, in the night,
a ripped-off Christmas bell,
too full of sludge to ring clear,
lies as a remnant of the Salvation Army
and their dances for pocket change.

In the city, in the night,
a small girl, dark braided hair tucked under a felt cap,
kicks at the snow with her shiny Wellies
as she looks up in open awe at the lights and wreaths
framing the street in a halo.

In the city, in the night,
a boy and his big, golden dog meander through crowds.
The boy dawns a ratty wool coat and dirty sneakers,
and he is bent against the cold.

In the city, in the night,
a blind man holds a saxophone.
He does not see the people go by,
but he feels them, as he feels the brass keys under his fingertips.
It is too cold for a saxophone here, someone whispers.

In the city, in the night,
a plastic bag blows into the dirty street
and sticks to the wet snow on the ground.
“Thank you for shopping” it reads.
No one knows who it is thanking.

In the city, in the night,
a street vendor hastens to pack his pretzel cart.
There is snow on his hat and grease on his fingers,
and he swigs from a coffee mug,
long since gone cold.

The vendor sees a boy wandering through the crowds.
He wishes he had pocket change
so that the boy could buy some penny candy,
but he offers a smile, and hopes that is enough.

In the city, in the night,
a street vendor hopes a smile is enough to break through the icy wind.
He hopes the smile is enough to reach the boy,
and that it is enough to mean more than penny candy,
more than pocket change.
He hopes the smile is enough to bring peace
to a boy and his dog, in the city, in the night.

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