She

She’s not homeless today.

She has a one-room place and a landlord who notices if she uses more water.

She’s on her usual corner 

Encouraging her cornermates with kind words

chiding them lovingly about not doing their part to pick up their trash.

Today is a few weeks after the cop ticketed her

For “aggressive panhandling” as she leaned on her walker at the corner

and told her she should just go and die.

Today her place seems big and empty and hers 

It’s months since she opened her home to her corner-mates

Four women and a cat in one room

Months since they angrily moved out

When she asked them to stop stealing from her

Today her place seems big and empty and hers 

Because she has almost finished giving away her beloved’s things to church

A year since he passed 

A year and a month since they told him he had to be hooked to machines to live

A year and a month since he said unhook me

Many years inside the month she spent watching him die

Wondering how she would pay for his body to leave this world

A year since she found a lab that would take his body for science

Today is a few years after she fractured her spine

But said “nah, I can’t afford treatment” for three weeks

A few years since the day she woke up and her legs didn’t work

And she landed in the hospital with a spine made of steel

and medical bills bigger than life

Today this woman of steel

Talks to me, a random summering teacher, at the coffeeshop,

About what souls are

full of resilence and tenderheartedness

Today is years after she made beautiful pottery in Kimmswick

But never could get the red pottery to come out right

Because red glaze is expensive

And takes a perfect amount of heating and cooling 

To not crack

About thetaxidermistsyoungest

I am a liminal woman. I want to heal all the breaches I can.

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