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I live on the streets

Where the sun blazes down on me

I amble in my ragged pants

Mama says I’m a beautiful child

I just think I’m a tiny black kid

Who likes to eat mud off the ground

Mama she says she’s not my real Mama

She says she picked me up

On a day when I was crying for milk

I don’t know what that means

But she’s got to be my real Mama

‘Cause she’s all that I got

Sometimes, we find food on the streets

Mama picks it up for me

And feeds me with her tender hands

Hunger bites harder as I devour each morsel

But I watch my tongue

And I measure each bite

And then, I pretend to be satiated

The remaining grub is for Mama

‘Cause I can see her stare at it

The way I do when I’m athirst

Each morning, I watch people in their cars

Their fragrance is an enchantment

The clean nails, the washed bodies

I even love to watch them cringe

Each time I walk towards them

Mama says I should ask for money

But honestly, I walk upto them only to breathe

To breathe in their freshness

And pat them on their shoulders, sometimes

‘Cause I believe it makes me clean

Sometimes I get cursed for it, though

But I don’t really mind that

It seems to wash the dirt away

It seems to make me feel unblemished

It seems to make my day

Mama says I can take a bath

For an entire month in a year

She says water falls from the skies

For unfortunate people like us

At times like these I only feel

That I’m glad to have been born unfortunate

I live on the streets

Where I don’t mind the sun blazing down on me

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Uttara Shekar

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