Twenty-three

Uncertain, listening for cues, she gives

One-word responses…can’t tell jokes. But then

after gin and nonsense, alone, she talks

for hours of the boys, teenagers, men

she has had sex with–more than she can count

or remember. She doesn’t know just why

she slept with them except they seemed to want

to. But the abortions…each one is clear

in her mind…each dead perhaps child. Now more

than anything she wants a live baby.

Her job is okay, frustrating, but half

challenging. There and everywhere she hides

her beauty, camouflages hair, breasts, eyes,

to slip unseen…maybe make a new life.

– Steve Shoemaker, Urbana, IL, September 21, 2013, soon to appear as the speaker at Tuesday Dialogues October 1, 2013 at Shepherd of the Hill Presbyterian Church in Chaska, MN.

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