old womanShe lies in the middle of the street
kicking feet
flailing arms
a dying insect on its back trying to recover life

“Oh God you have forsaken me and my children
I cry but do you listen? Do you care, God?
I would damn you but for the fear
you would damn me first.
I am old and lost and you do not care.
I am poor and do not eat.
My clothes are torn and ragged.
My love for you is greater
than your love for me.”

While shaking the plastic cup,
at those rushing past in the shadows
her eyes screaming, “Please”

Sobbing, striking at demons around
she stops looking at those around
then struggles to her feet,
a torn month old newspaper of a person
hunched and like a matter of fact
goes to a nearby diner
orders a cup of coffee, cream, two sugars…

“How ya doin Mildred?” the waitress asks.

“Not bad. Eighteen bucks
but gotta tell ya the damn street’s
cold tonight killin’ my back for real
maybe I’ll go work over by Western”

sipping coffee, shivering, sobbing
brushing her disheveled hair away
“ashes to ashes, dust to dust”
rocking a non-baby in her arms
“the child shall pierce your heart”
caressing sorrow stroking sadness
“where else would I go”
the tears streaming across her lips
muttering her life story again.

“It wasn’t my fault.
It wasn’t me.
Damn you.
Damn you.”


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