Worn-out thongs

By | 1 October 2020

She is always walking,
worn-out thongs, no hat.
Her feet slog out the daily route,
one small grocery bag comes back.

I am always driving,
high in my black shiny car.
Dashing somewhere, running late, picking up a child.
Daring a couple of kays over the speed limit.

She walks alone this suburb’s streets,
past parks and gardens, family homes.
Sagging jeans with fraying cuffs, lank hair, sunburnt
shoulders and beer-gut belly spilling from stretched-out tank tops.

Each time I see her pacing,
I don’t recognise her face.
It slides and shifts and melts away.
Today, she could be my age.

She walks and staggers, stops and stands,
swaying and sweating on the path.
The sun the sun the constant sun;
it’s 35 degrees outside my car.

I don’t always see her, I think she goes away.
I straightened once, from weeding: filthy handed
to see her standing haunting
the shade of the gumtree across the road.

I flinched.
She never seems to see me.
Who does she see when she stands and stares?
I would know her anywhere.

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