(sitting on an urban park bench)
she resembled a grandma doll
with dried apple for head, staring eerily
from its perch on a shelf. wild on her head, her hair had
turned white and was stained yellow,
like gauze left on a wound too long. her clothes, old, musty
like air blowing from an abandoned building.
her orthopedic shoes tap tap tap keeping pace
with an endless day. the river slapped past
her tireless gaze.
she watched paddle boats slosh the water, then her attention
shifted to the birds pecking the cement. she tossed dried bread,
scattering birds toward international flags: Italy, Lithuania,
Poland. and maybe she thought of her home land or a distant war
she had witnessed or maybe her entire life had been spent in this same
her gaze sailed across the water to the lights of the city
slowing creeping to life, like spring
vines on a trellis covered in old growth. neon lights gave
new vitality to old buildings and cheapened them, like plastic flowers
on an old lady’s hat. but her eyes continued.
she saw far past the tall buildings and the cracked sidewalks and the car choked streets. far past: to her old neighborhood. to her childhood. to memories buzzing like street lamps. to any where else.
she stood from the bench, tossing one last handful of crumbs, then retreated
from the growing darkness. she crossed the park, then was lost
from sight. she trailed shadows as the street lamps painted
the sidewalks with white chalk.
and the rock doves pecked the pavement clean with their beaks, click, click, click,
like her fading footsteps.
the opposite way of her gaze.
and had been looking for something other than she had been given.