A feisty little ghost he is,
my spectral guttersnipe.
He was only eight years old,
this tiny survivor of many brawls
with his running nose, bare feet,
chipped, broken teeth
and dirt streaked face,
no buttons on his frayed jacket.

He worked odd  jobs
from early dawn ‘til dusk,
sweeping streets, selling matches
and ostrich feathers,
running the gentry’s errands
for farthings or food
or picking their pockets
for silk handkerchiefs.

He knows a lot of things
a child should not know
about being cold and hungry,
of floggings and the scars they leave,
served time in dirty cells at Newgate prison,
smoking and playing cards
with the other condemned
to relieve the inertia of waiting.

So I just let him sit
in front of the bird cage,
listening to the chirping chorus,
unsure if he is trapped here
like those birds
or if he just enjoys being
an untroubled child for once.

© november child
in response to: Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle #123 ‘October 3rd, 2016’
guttersnipe/chorus/birdcage/spectral/(late)/break/dusk/serve/(crow’s mile)/button/brawl/inertia

photo credit: Wikipedia