Empathy for the Broken

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Poetry  |  House: Booksie Classic

She was me, she is we, she will be no one

In the bookstore
In the hall by the bathroom
A mother and her daughter
Petulant and haughty, the mother crosses her arms 
Her daughter looks ashamed
I say hello, as a young woman exits the hall
Her purse and small back pack clutched tight
She is dirty 
Tears carve swathes down her sunburnt cheeks 
She looks at me 
Her eyes are without hope
I left the key in the door 
She says 
It's okay 
I tell her
The mother stares
As soon as the girl who is in pain rounds the corner 
The mother tries to lock eyes with me
I know what that bitch wants
She wants an unspoken understanding
A mutual agreement that we have both witnessed the scum of our city 
I don't give it to her
She turns to her daughter 
Don't touch anything!
She screams
And looks back at me, laughing
I turn away
I round the corner
And call out
Are you okay? 
She stops
And starts to sob again
I don't say a word
People stare she turns back around
And leaves 
Three hours later 
Lunch break
I get a veggie sandwich with pepper jack cheese 
Same as always
I leave the shop
The broken girl runs across the street, dodging traffic
She calls out
I can barely hear her
Are you 21
She asks
I say
Her eyes cast down
Will you get me a 211
I'll pay you
But I'm short
She grips a dollar bill tightly
Our eyes meet
And I see that our pain is the same
What is a 211
I say guilty 
It's steel reserve 
Malt liquor
I buy one from a chevron
And return to where she stands
Thank you
She says 
It's okay
I say again
What else can I say?
I've been there
Who cares if I have a home
Or a job 
I've needed it just as bad
I turn to leave
Trying to convince myself I've helped her
She's just a kid
What's your name? 
She asks
I tell her
And ask for hers
I don't hear her response 
She says again
I say
She sees my arm
What does it mean?
She asks
Its a symbol that ties the soul to whatever object it's drawn on
It means this body is all I have 
I say
It means that I don't believe in the soul
She says
I feel like a soul
Trapped in a body
What do I know
I say
I want to tell her that 
Things will be okay
But how the fuck should I know? So I leave 
That's the last time I saw her 
And I know if I do see her again
I won't say a fucking word 

Submitted: August 12, 2015

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Add Your Comments:


Zach MacDonald

I liked this and the candid, honest voice it's written in. Your words paint a really clear picture of the scene. It comes off as a short story, almost a flash fiction, told in the form of a poem, and it really works in that form.

I thought there was great insight here, especially on the mother trying to lock eyes for unspoken understanding that you've both witnessed the "scum of our city". I know just the kind of person you mean. Also a powerful ending. Very nice work.

Wed, August 12th, 2015 4:10am


Thank you man, I really appreciate the comment. This actually happened earlier today, I wrote about it at the end of my lunch and finished it on my smoke break. Thank you for reading!

Tue, August 11th, 2015 9:32pm


This was really awesome! You wrote it at the end of your lunch and then you finished it on your smoke break, i think that's great to see things happen and then write about them! That's a wonderful way of writing! This poem was really true and honest.You've got a great talent to put beautiful and wonderful things all together. And i can see the you write from all your heart and soul and that's what great about being a writer or a poet! Also, you've got your own unique way of writing. It's different and i like it =) Keep writing and don't forget to keep me updated with your new stuff I'll gladly read them :) Take care!

Tue, September 8th, 2015 10:53am

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