A stranger stands ahead of me 
in line at the Post Office 
in a dusty black hat 
grey gauze hanging below its rim.
Her neck, also dusty, is
bent, the vertebrae like tiny peaks.
An old black jacket hangs from her shoulders.
As she stands in line, she tugs at the jacket
to straighten it.  Her worn black pants fall 
to just above the cast on her ankle.
Gauze wraps that too.
I am afraid to stand near her,
hang back as the line moves forward.
I cannot see her face but fear 
it may be ghastly.

Her turn comes at the counter.
I’m next.
When I glance over, I recognize her. 
She is the gypsy I’ve seen here so often.
Her dark penciled brows 
and bold rouged cheeks usually
paired with dark skirts and tops.
Today, hurt, she does not look herself.
She leaves a suitcase by the door
while she gets her mail.
That task complete, 
she straightens her jacket,
collects her suitcase 
and wheels it and her pain
back into the world.

depositphotos_150954514_xl.jpegOctober 11, 2021

Published by

Cynthia M. Sheward

Cynthia Sheward has written poetry since she was a child. She was born in Massachusetts but spent her young life in New Jersey. She applied her English degree from Arcadia University teaching junior-senior high school in Vermont the 70’s. In the 80s, she and her husband built their own house with their own hands in the mountains of North Carolina. In the 90s, she returned to NJ where she worked for a Fortune 500 corporation until her retirement. Her work has been published in Friends Journal, Evening Street, the Bennington Banner, Fiber Arts Magazine, the Mountain Times and various other print media. She currently resides in Jupiter, Florida.

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