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Friday, March 31, 2017


by Mimi German

A Portland baby is dead after being found last week in freezing temperatures with his homeless mother in a bus stop along Southeast Powell Boulevard. The infant, found Jan. 9, marks the fifth death on Portland's streets during the cold weather this year. Four homeless people died of exposure in the first 10 days of 2017. A week after the baby was found, it's still unclear whether he died of exposure hours after being born outdoors or was stillborn. But the circumstances of the child's death illustrate that much of the tragedy on Portland's streets involves untreated mental illness. Photo of Portland snow on January 11, 2017 by Joe Riedl. —Nigel Jaquiss, Williamette Week, January 11, 2017

I took a shovel to the ice

before the thaw
would bring the rains
before the rains
would bring the flood
before the flood
would raise the worms
before the worms
could feed the birds
before the birds
could shit upon

frozen people
lying dead
in sleeping bags
on the sidewalks
of this City.

Mimi German is a Poet and Activist/Organizer and free radical for change in Portland, OR.