The city hurries to catch the hands of the clock
Brakes screeching, horns groaning
To stifle the orderly tick-tock.
At the mouth of a by-lane, he stands
Brown faced, narrow eyed
His scrawny figure manning the newsstand.
His smile is like a drizzle,
Infrequent and scarce,
Perhaps he spilt the laughter
in the corner of the streets he walked
Late last night or early this morn
Before the strands of the sun could visit his home.
His eyes, like those of other children his age,
Betray him, for they haven’t yet learnt
The lies of deception, the art of disguise.
Every now and then,
He picks up a newspaper,
And gropes through the words,
Stuttering through the sentences.
With self-taught knowledge his only guide,
He recognizes words by their shape
Or by pestering a passerby
About a line or two
That often befuddles his curious eye.