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Freeway Exit

By Ann Garrett

“Homeless and dying of Aids”

the stained cardboard read;

propped up against a




on the crowded freeway exit.

“please help” it begged


“God Bless.”

Like a nursery rhyme

gone awry,

the chant echoed

over and


in my mind.

“Homeless and dying…”

“Dying of Aids…”

So, this time I reached

into my wallet

to give

this man



(I didn’t know which)

a small token for

a hamburger

cup of coffee


Slowing my car

I swerved to the curb,

holding out

a few crumpled dollars.

Trembling hands clutched the bills

A leathery finger brushed against mine,

The person’s head raised cautiously.

And I was met with,

a grateful glance

a slight smile

a “Thank you.”

As horns honked behind me, and

the driver next to me swore,

I merged again into the traffic




Ann Garrett is the author of fiction in both the children and adult markets. Her poetry has been published in the anthologies A Question of Balance, a Joyful Noise, Ceremony, and Quothade. She has also been featured in the poetry magazines Acumen, The Brave New Tick, The Blind Man's Rainbor, Broken Streets, Freexpression, The Plowman, Poetry Motel, Rook Publishing, Time of Singing, and To Topos Poetry International.
In the children’s market, Ann Garrett authored the picture book Keeper of the Swamp. Ann and Gene-Michael also co-authored the picture books: What's for Lunch?, What's for Dinner?, Tales of Tails, Fins and Flippers, and Stardusters. They are also the authors of the middle grade Kindle Books Miss Hiss is Missing, Peanut Butter BBQ, and Practical Yoke. In the young adult market, they co-authored the book War of the Dark God. Her children’s poetry has appeared in Kwil Kids Publishing, PKA's Advocate, Poem Train, Boy's Quest, Mr. Marquis' Museletter, and Short Editions.
Ann has also co-authored two adult books: TLC for Frazzled Kids and Help for Frazzled Moms.
Happily married, Ann lives and writes in Southern CA.


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