Double Envy at Ashram Chowk

The young beggar approached

the shiny new Mercedes

at the red light

and admired the polished life

of the rich man

in the back seat.

The rich man glanced

up from the morning paper

and caught sight of the perfect smile

on the beggar's face.

As he admired the boy’s strong white teeth

he closed his own mouth

and with his tongue

he touched his brittle yellowing teeth

and with his mind

he touched his vacant soul.

He thought about his dental bills

big money spent on a mediocre smile

and how that could have paid

for this boy’s entire education and more.

Then the light turned green

the car lurched forward

the old man looked back

and the boy smiled

and his smile touched the soul of a better India.

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