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A Christmas Story
by R L Tilley

She was a child of the streets,
that girl and her dog.
Yes, a girl, no woman yet,
swaddled in blankets on the winter thoroughfare in the rain.

Her dog, as dogs do,
gazed sadly at the future of hunger and cold.

I had come out of a French restaurant
where I had eaten well, with my wife of dreams.

I gave that girl the last five pounds in my wal[et,
but there would be more.
ln the busy evening that girl returned to me
the gift of poetry as I felt for her and the others
I have known of the cold arithmetic of the streets.