© 2012 Madelaine Nerson MacNamara
Voices criss-cross the silence between trains.
Eleven years old Mona Lisa processes
The length of the porcelain-tiled metro station.
Long flowered skirt, tight red scarf.
Eyes brandishing a lance and shield.
Thorough, professional, she detects a target.
My fellow travellers set their face
Into automatic, neutral or reverse
Against the curse of street begging.
I try magicking change into my wallet
Rummage twitching fingers
For coins I know to be non-existent.
From the barricade
of warm coat, yellow bench
I withstand her entreaties
Perplex her with nodded
Smiles that don't manage
To convince me not to mind her.
Once more I've left myself
Be swayed, failed to fight our corner
Despite, unlike my companions,
Lacking valid reasons for refusing alms.
Next Sunday's Gospel reading
Confirms: "Give to everyone who asks".