White Socks

Earlier this Summer Luana J. Ritch joined some others from this blog in San Francisco for a trip to Shotwell Paper Mill for a symposium on Combat Paper. She wrote this poem while in ‘The City’.


Clean White Socks

Luana J. Ritch, June 2014.


Clean, white, socks,

Against a dirty gray sidewalk.

He is sleeping.

Lying on his side, curled up,

In a half-fetal ball.

Holding his Nike’s tightly to his chest,

As a child hugging a favorite teddy bear.


Tall and athletic, his face smoothed

By his youth; clean-cut All-American boy,

In sleep, a face of sweet innocence.

Jeans, white t-shirt, and high school letterman’s jacket

His wardrobe.

A small gym bag, his pillow on this concrete bed.


I wonder about his dreams.

Are they of high school glory?

Touch-downs, home runs, and such?

Or, perhaps images of war and loss,

With sounds of battle are his nightmares.

I wonder, “Why is he here?”

What did he come to find

In this “City by the Bay?

On a cool spring morning,

In this landscape of the homeless,

His socks are a bright spot against the gray.

I walk by those clean white socks

To catch my train.

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