by Allen Thomas
Like the frail supplicants on their pallets and patches of straw
cluttering Calcutta's dusty byways,
All life's regrets, all its doubts rise up unbidden one by one,
propped here on an elbow, there on a trembling arm
to entreat the passerby.
Outstretched fingers pluck at his garments,
hindering the passerby already toiling with difficulty toward
the light ahead.
Each unwelcome claimant insisting to be heard slows
the struggling traveler, whose only wish is to continue on,
The way is not easy; the petitioners will not relent.