Perhaps I'll try again another day
Pushing her life before her
In a tatty shopping trolley,
Covered in a dirty duvet.
She moves around the town,
Hugging the walls and side alleys,
Trying to be inconspicuous.
One day with curious concern, I approach.
"Hello, how are you today?"
She stares at me with wild eyes.
"Do you need anything,
A drink, something to eat?"
She opens her mouth,
Exposing rotten, stumpy teeth,
And replies, "I need peace - piss off."
Perhaps I'll try another day.
Weeks later I see her,
Hunched on a park bench,
Faithful trolley by her side.
She studies something in her hand.
I ponder on her age.
What reduced her to this life?
Rummaging in bins for food.
Sleeping in the underground carpark.
Does she have any family?
How does she survive the bitter, winter nights?
I pluck up the courage and walk over.
I notice white lines down her weathered cheeks,
Revealingly tear tracks,
Unveiling her sadness.
I sit on the bench beside her.
"Hello, can I help you?"
"Go away, leave me alone." She croaks
I press on, "Can I buy you a hot drink
And something to eat before I go?"
She shrugs, wafting her unpleasant odour.
"What would you like?"
She shrugs again, not raising her head.
I go to a nearby refreshment shed
Purchase a sugared tea and bacon roll.
She doesn't look up as I place them on the bench beside her.
Then she utters, "You can piss off now."
I go to leave and glance at a dog-eared photo she is holding,
A smiling couple, holding a young child.
Could she possibly be,
The pretty, young woman in the picture?
Maybe it's a son or daughter?
"Who's your photograph of?" I ask.
Clutching the picture to her breast,
She wildly looks at me,
"I said, PISS OFF!"
Peering back over my shoulder
I see her,
Drinking tea and eating her roll,
Perhaps I'll try again another day.
Copyright © Elizabeth Kinch | Year Posted 2017