The Woman

by Joelly Cameron

The cool morning air caught and carried my breath,

With no trouble, as if it were Cochrane suited up with his glove.

I watched her as she was pushing away.

Her entire life piled up next to her in that junction.

That spot nobody wants to see in the mind’s eye.

Her entire wardrobe ticked away in a Nathan’s paper sack.

Me walking along the weight of my mail bag on my shoulder,

Was not enough to dismiss,

Or keep my thoughts away from her.

I glanced at her shoes,

That was once somebody’s trash.

Empathy packed my mind, and my heart.

I wondered what it would feel like to live a life less than satiated.,

To wear someone else’s garbage,

Or eat another’s leftovers.

I felt guilty for not feeling sympathy for the woman.

Her life contents saturated with good attempts gone amiss.

To live your life without any justification,

Than to just take up space on some quiet corner.

The mail within my grip,

Would never carry her name,

Or bear an address for the unknown woman wearing yesterday’s name brands.

Instead, I would have to deliver to her cardboard apartment.

Handwritten expressions to a stranger,

Cards full of warmth,

And the occasional dollar.

The woman found my deliveries inimitable.

On the seventh day, when I delivered her mail.

She wrote back,

And it was signed on an old receipt,

Love, Karla.

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