Seoul Station / Janet M. Powers

We came upon them first sitting
in straight rows, singing hymns.
pretending to an upright life.
A plain clothes nun stood in front
leading prayers.  Looking back
through the station passageway,
I saw one woman, the rest men
all homeless, sharing loss.

 Later that night they slept
without covering or even mat;
trickles of sour urine ran
from every comatose form.
It could have been New York
or Paris, but it was Seoul
the city of neat and clean
sleek buildings looking on.

What brought them to this place?
Why the downward drift,
beer, rice wine or drugs?
Always a station, that place
of coming and going, where
travelers offer hope in handouts,
the station, where everyone
has a dream of moving on.