Poor Man’s Shadow

Life in Concrete: Photo by Noelle

Life in Concrete: Photo by Noelle

She asks what I want. Such a loaded question. No exit. I want, I want many things but purse strings wrap at my knees and I feel myself falling into her question. I look up. She wants to please me. Her love a warm blanket, tattered but whole. That moneyless handbag dangles off her arm and it’s not the elephant in the room, but rather the herd. I don’t know why she’s asking when there is no way to fill my hunger. I want to tell her not to ask me anymore for my insides she can’t fill. Best not to ask and let me gnaw on my own wants as dog bones left on the floor.

Still, she waits and there’s the tension. The longing to be true and answer with my greatest heart’s desire, because her love deserves that much. Yet to answer is to darken her eyes with that poor man’s shadow. He lingers with his empty pockets in the hallway jingling keys to fool you it was money. I hear him louder sometimes than I hear her. Still, she’s waiting.

I want to love her with an answer she can meet, but all my small hopes are used up. I got nothing but big heart yearnings left and I feel like she can see them straight up, though I’ve worked hard to hide them in the wood pile. “What do you want,” she asks now exasperated. I shove my hands in my pockets, “Nothin’, mama. I’m good.”

I see her sorrow and I eat it whole, like her biscuits. It’s all that’s on the table.

Work in progress from “The Writer’s Church” writing group, Boulder, CO. Hosted by Marj Hahne

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