Incident At Miller's Outpost

Jenniffer Lesh

You spot the old woman across the racks of denim.
Her steps falter, her new white cane taps the distance
between you, trembling
the floorboards beneath your feet.
There is no time to run or hide.

Her nostrils have opened like dusty flowers
and have scented you,
the you bathed in sudden sweat.
Now she's moving in your direction,

her wrist clever in the ways of the cane that slices
the air and scrapes the floor,
an antenna searching you out.

Her eyebrows fly up in penciled joy,
her blue eyes roll under cataract clouds.
It's you, she says, you my dear friend,
her teeth chattering their ivory song
in her melting jaw.

Pathetic is the word that pulses,
unbidden, in your head.
Why don't you visit anymore, she says.

So you mask your voice and tell her kindly
she's mistaken you for someone else.
While you slip away, you feel those blinded eyes

grow sight
sharp as diamonds
in your wake.

Copyright CrossConnect, Inc. 1996