The University of Iowa University of Iowa


I am homeless.

I am a lone warrior living on the streets of New York.

These streets have been my home for ten years next February. I live in a box in the alley on 22nd and 9th. No one talks to me. No one visits. No one asks me how my day is going. I try not to let it bother me though. I enjoy my streets. I like to sit on the sidewalk, basking in the sun as I watch people rush by.

I have made friends, though. I find things on the street people have dropped or lost. Things people have thrown out because they don’t have a use for it anymore, things kinda like me.

I found so many things that I started a club. We meet every day, when it gets too cold to stay on the streets. We use my box as our clubhouse. I, of course, am the president of this club. The vice president is a toy train some little boy dropped when his mom was pulling him across the street. She keeps me on track when I start rambling at the meetings.

The secretary is a magic marker that rolled down my alley one rainy day. He records all our important discussions. A ball of yarn I once used to tie my box shut during the big snowstorm last January, is in charge of security. A sand shovel I found on the curb of 24th and 8th last summer is in charge of finding snacks.

The other members consist of a dried-up piece of chewed gum, a penny I found heads up, a McDonald’s Big Mac wrapper, a stuffed puppy with one eye missing, a used Band-Aid, and the last, but not least, a picture of a beautiful girl with long, auburn hair and happy, green eyes. She is wearing a white dress, standing in a meadow with hundreds of sunflowers surrounding her. I found her in the garbage can in my alley one sunny afternoon last fall. The edges are worn and the color is faded, but she is still magnificent.

I named her Claire, because a beautiful girl deserves to have a beautiful name. She reminds me of a girl I met while I was fighting overseas. They both have the same piercing eyes. Whenever I feel like I am back fighting, I look at her and she helps me come back home, to my box in the alley on 22nd and 9th.