Thursday, November 5, 2015

Poem #296

The old woman stood near the corner
of 82nd and Stark
on the sidewalk
of the salon that advertises
tintes y cortes
She was tall and too thin
a too-big trenchcoat
pulled snug around her waist
an umbrella
and a sign
Hungry
Please help

I was in the wrong lane
and the light turned green
I went on through
the intersection
but I couldn't leave
it like that
so I changed lanes
and circled back.

I got out a 20
and as I rounded the corner
she moved along the sidewalk
towards the salon
and I thought I'd missed her
but the light was red
and she came back
towards the street.

I put out my hand
and she said,
I had to check the time.
It's getting late
And she took the 20
and her eyes widened
and she said
That's very generous of you
and I said
It's 5:15
for lack of anything else to say
and she thanked me again
and I repeated
It's 5:15
and I hope she heard
You're welcome
and I drove on
wondering how
this woman with her straight back
and carefully brushed hair
came to be begging
on an October Saturday.

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