How is she doing 
on this road - stooping, 
picking up sticks, examining, carrying or
letting them fall -
no use
no use
she hears others
explode, implode, overload
on their way by
and can't, though she tries,
get ahead of herself
turn and look
back at the woman following
analyse how she's doing
for there is no magnifying glass
that will make this clear,
no binoculars to make the distance near
and only her knee-jerk reactions
keep her here
walking, walking, head in the air
eyes fixed on nowhere in particular.  
Keep breathing (so she's told)
will clear that pall of cloud
that likes to hang about her head,
obscure the road.
Hello, Hello, Goodbye,
she's seen them up close
those vindictive ones -
the quick palm press then
they drop like stones sooner or later
give a venomous kick
on their way by
to go hang onto someone
else's sleeve -
as long as they leave her peace
she doesn't mind
doesn't scare
feet hardened to rocks in the road
she knows the code that gets her by
she has an alibi
for her whereabouts at all times
(if she's ever asked)
so when they cut-out her heart
it won't hurt
it's done it's job -
she's grovelled in the dirt -
so when they cut it out
drop it on their scales
and the feather balances
her life will inscribe one perfect horizontal line
and that is when 
she'll know she's won.
Collected Works
Return to Collections all
next poem