Now that Joe is dead
people are rushing to honor him.
He was a Vietnam veteran.
A sergeant in the Army.
They carried his flag-drapped casket
to the national cemetery
where a cluster of strangers in uniform saluted.
A chaplin prayed, a recording of taps was sounded.
A funeral home donated it's services
to keep him out of the pauper's cemetery.
When Joe was in the hospital
and barely breathing,
doctors hovered over him for a week.
No telling how much money
it cost to keep him alive.
His friends wonder
why attention wasn't given to him
as he huddled in the cold,
homeless, psychotic and filthy,
before he was beaten
outside a downtown church.
The former soldier was killed
for a few dollars.
He was on a public street.
The VA hospital declined
to admit him for treatment.
He was not a threat to himself or others.
He was assaulted by thugs
and beaten to death
all alone in the cold.