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Promoting rapid sheltering of unsheltered & unprotected women.

Dalston Lane

Her eyes stop me.

I am on my way home, it’s mid-week, 11 p.m.

I’ve seen her before,

at the same corner, next to the ATM

holding a plastic cup between her hands

It’s cold, it will probably hit minus degrees at some point

I look into her eyes,

she’s probably my age, dark hair, kind gaze, in her thirties, fresh-faced

I am about to nod and pass like I normally do but then I think,

now or never



I say


she says


We all fall through the cracks

She’s only been there for a few weeks

no savings

just lost her job

wasn’t able to pay rent

put out on the street, she came to Dalston Lane; "it’s safer here", she says

"What can I do?"

"Well, maybe some blankets"

"Where will you sleep?"

"I’m collecting money for the hostel"

I give her money for the hostel, I can’t help it, I know,

she thanks me. I say,

"Promise me you’ll go."

I cry the rest of my way home, I’m only two blocks away...

I never see her again.

(c)2019 Sara Kärpänen

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