- Woman between You and the Door
Woman between You and the Door
The last time you saw her, the police were escorting her to their car. A nice
word escort, and she shouted several others in a screaming growl
that let you know she didn’t care how quaint it was. She tossed her
head so her orange cap flew and she tried to spit on them, on you.
Now, she has the cap again, though more dirty, and you wonder
if they retrieved it for her, or if later she came from jail and found it, with the tire
and shoe marks that give it what some might [End Page 79]
call character and others a sign of worse to fear.
You still have time to change your plans, to run other errands,
to pretend you don’t see her, don’t understand, don’t care
about what you know will happen when you reach her. You’ve forgotten
some part of why you were headed her way.
When you smile at her, turning back, it’s almost a true smile, not the sick
knowing that what went wrong in her has reached you. It grins there
in the wet teeth you bare against the wind.
John Bensko is the author of three books of poetry, The Iron City (Illinois U P), The Waterman’s Children (U of Massachussetts P), and Green Soldiers (Yale U P), as well as a story collection, Sea Dogs (Graywolf). He teaches in the mfa program at the University of Memphis.