dropped change

By Jalina Suggs

I watched the girl with the pin-stripe bow
cling to her mother’s side.
The mother, herself, gripped a sign.
Charcoal scribbled across cardboard.
“Please help. Recently fired and foreclosed.”
Trains came and people passed.

A collection of singles and coins in the Tupperware at their feet.

She felt my eyes on her then, too late to turn away.
Her eyes, little eyes, pools of honey, I dove in.
She saw my soul and I saw hers.
Both vulnerable.
I blinked and so did she.
She had witnessed ordeals that she could
neither digest nor discard.

I refocused on her bow to stay whole.

Baby blue base decorated with slender white stripes,

half the size of her head,

silken and gaudy on her crown.

Trains came and people passed.
Men, women and children, directed themselves to the Tupperware,
dropped change and carried on.
No one looked into her eyes.

Maybe they knew better.
Maybe I had to learn.

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