We waited together, but
She got there first.
I saw her, as I walked up to
The bus stop.
She was small and frail in
Her tight blue tank top and
Way too big khaki pants.
She looked like an ancient child
With her sunken face and
Concave chest that trembled with each puff of her cigarette.
“We just missed one,” she said as I sat down.
“That bitch saw me, but she just kept on going.”
As she talked, her hair,
As red as her thin cracked lips,
Waved in the breeze like the weather beaten flag of
A nation that has been long forgotten.
She muttered more curses, but I didn’t hear them.
I was looking at the dark pink scar above her chest.
She caught me staring.
Touching the scar, she moves closer to me.
Her toothless grin reveals a darkness
Like a deep well that’s
Been waiting to reveal its secrets.
The thin low tank top did not hide it:
The memory of seared skin that bubbles,
Then crusts and finally smooths out.
What remained had the appearance
Of often used candle wax.
“That’s my ‘bottom,’” she said as she fingered the scar.
“Yeah, he come for it, but I wouldn’t give it up.”
“My last 10 dollars. I needed my ‘rock.’”
She saw the confused look of the uninitiated on my face.
“Weren’t you scared?” I said.
“Yeah, but I needed it.”
She went silent and looked down at her feet
As if she was admiring her white high heeled shoes
With yellow at the tips that covered her toes,
A yellow with the hue and curve of a small just ripened banana.
Still looking down, she said as if talking to herself,
“I cried later when I got straight.”
“I almost died for 10 bucks.”
“I quit after that. Been sober for nearly a year.”
She turned away from me and
Took another drag of her cigarette.
Then, she used a free finger to dab a piece of debris off of her tongue.
She examined her find with great interest,
Totally oblivious to any thing around her.
I saw our bus off in the distance.