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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sarah at 28

I nose my car into
an angled parking space 
at Wal Mart.   A furnace 
blasts my face as I
step into the sun.
A voice   traveling on
the wind   rings familiar.
   “Sir could you spare some money?”
My head jerks.   Sarah.
At the “Enter” door
   hand held out   eyes down
   panhandling    begging
money from strangers.
A tank top   olive drab
hugs her slender body
   tattered baggy pants
puddle over rubber flip-flops.
Sweat glistens on her brow.
She looks up   a startled
glance that radiates shame
reveals black-rimmed eyes
   silent screams at their core
   her pasty face pocked with 
scabs of psoriasis
   arms tattooed with figures
I cannot make out.
I half expect her to
move in my direction.
Instead   she returns
her gaze to the pavement
   shuffles her feet.
I manage a whispered hello
   move through the sliding door
swallowing bile.   I rush
to the toilet   vomit
   wretch   heave   wash my face
   rinse my mouth, blow my nose.
I sit on the wooden bench
outside the restroom
   fend off more nausea 
   wonder how this child
grew into an addict
   a street person in rags
   blackened blonde hair a
thin disguise.  Our granddaughter.
Juicy Fruit my only 
purchase   I drag myself 
to the door   find her gone 
   stumble to my car   
   tear open the gum   stuff two 
pieces in my mouth   chew 
   chase the foul taste 
   sit   wait   as tears dry 
   wonder how I came here  
how I’ll find my way home. 
©  2011 cj Schlottman

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