I wrote this poem long ago after seeing a homeless woman on the street. She used to wander the streets of our town. I had been told that she had once been in a home as she was mentally afflicted, but it had closed and she was on her own. She disappeared, not sure what happened to her.
I see her
shuffling towards me, disheveled, shabby,
soiled, shoes ragged, tattered black pants,
russet coat threadbare and frayed,
head topped by a black
antiquated hat of worn lace,
glimpses of silvery strands
dangling from beneath.
A frail figure swallowed up
in a sea of baggy garments.
A vacant expression drapes
her bony face. She leans
upon a grocery cart, its clumsy gait
echoing hers as she ambles nearer.
She mutters mysteriously with shadowy
companions. Sporadic jerks of her hands
swat at relentless insects persistently
buzzing insults of her condition.
She is close now, within arms reach.
I shudder uneasily.
Her eyes contact mine and,
at that moment,
when she smiles
I see her.