After a particularly awful day in school, Merry Castle stepped off the bus and onto the intersection between Misery Street and Hopeless Avenue. In front of her was a small crowd that were jeering and laughing at something she couldn’t see. As she drew closer, their sound grew more cutting and cruel. She knew it well.
Merry pushed her way through bodies that were stiff with judgement and saw a thin homeless woman doubled over on the ground. A horrid stench wafted toward the crowd from the pool of vomit that was inches from her lips, Merry did her best to hold back the rise of her own bile. Her embarrassment for the poor woman turned to outrage when she noticed that the woman only had on an filthy pair of underware and a thin stain top. Everytime she heaved in a gasped of air, her pale skin pulled against her thin bones and the mocking shouts moved another level. Merry came to her senses when they started to move in closer and pulled her slightly damp towel from swim class. Rushing to cover the woman and ending their amusement, they started to disperse just as the police were pulling to the curb. The woman looked at her with grateful surprise, though not a word could escape her and she gripped the towel tightly. With her other thin hand, she held on as Merry helped her stand. On colt like legs, she swayed back and forth in exhaustion. Fragments of sentences fluttered out of her while Merry struggled both to understand and steady her. Before the offciers took her gingerly between them, the woman turned her watery gray eyes to her and then down at the towel that dragged at her feet.
“Thank you.” she whispered.
Merry watched them drive off and she wondered if she would ever see the woman again. Part of her prayed that she wouldn’t, that the woman would never have to return to these streets of heartbreak. After today, she decided to look into relocating herself.
Julia Manuel on Poem #4 ingridfalconi on Poem #4 Julia Manuel on Poem #4