WAITING TO GO
Street light switches to red and it takes a second for the revenant to look
up. But it doesn't matter. He goes. The bum staggers into the street. And he
goes with a forced stride, lifting his jaw, struggling for balance. His
clothes wear him, the worse for it. I see the sum total of what he has
become-wrinkled and worn with the wet pavement reflecting crimson underneath
him. For that split moment, it looks like a river of blood. He is awash in it
and he wavers in the middle there, face turned to the sky as rain starts up
again. The pallor of indigent, unwashed skin turns ghoulish as the light
changes over his head to green. His head swivels and I watch him swallow
hard, staring, daring the driver.waiting to go.
Benched on the bus, quiet like a locked box, looking up. So many squeezing
in, scoot down, make room, sit on sister's lap. Elbow room is gone with the
freedom to swing the feet.
Hands rest on her gloves, holding on, and furtive glances show others
clutching too. Poles, briefcases, loops. La, the bus lurches and brakes
screech. Sister grunts. Sit still.
REFLECTIONS OF A MAD WOMAN
Crashing glass scattered and I, as always, picked up the pieces. Tongue
shards that cut so deep a grown man can't cry splintered through the air,
slivering. And he stood there, hands loose, deliberately doing nothing. I
tell you, he simply stupors in stunned silence, swallowing anger and bile and
impotence, seething in something I can't understand, while I, on the other
hand, am writhing with indignance and fury and the fact that I saw the mirror
before it broke and it reflected my face.
Hands down, head down, the only view around is legs. Calves and shins. A few
bony knees poking through. We don't look far enough to note the shoes.
Hemlines and fabrics: polyester, linen, and wool. A sea of swishing pants and
skirts. Swim sick little loner. Cringe at the concept of eye contact. It
doesn't matter if you're stepped on.
ECHOES OF YESTERDAY
Though sun shone through the mossy boughs of overhanging catalpas as I drove
on the familiar country lane toward my own home-I felt like a stranger, numb.
A veteran from a foreign war, unarmed, and stripped of rank, blind and
Blurring, I could see through the tears and move through the pain, and
without any conscious will, I passed water through stained glass, gasping
time after time, reliving memories of my soundless life on that farm.
I thought I had gone deaf until the buttered leather beside me caterwauled,
screaming, "Do you see that I am empty?" I reached out and felt
forlorn, my fingers finding nothing.
Nothing but echoes of yesterday enveloped me again and again. And I could not
deliver myself from my sweet wife's face as she cried, "Thank God you're
home" before she collapsed in my arms. I was too late. How could she
leave me like this?
© Jennifer DiCamillo 2005