Image for the poem Scarlet sash

Scarlet sash

'She was a thief and a whore and a kept woman,            
She was a thing to be used and played with.    
She wore an ancient scarlet sash.'  (Carl Sandburg)
Why do I chase that which I am not meant to keep?
I found my fate in a dark back alley where the lost
huddle like peasants and the familiar don't want to be.  
My home is nowhere, my resolve, a broken
streetlamp in a city with a woman  
too much like me on every corner.
I'm not cut out for the harshness that batters  
my optimism into a state of sleeplessness  
and my tears litter the cracked sidewalk like trinkets  
from strangers who knew a girl's mouth could be used  
for something other than a kiss.
I stand alone in the dark, hidden from the living,
worried that the drum of my racing heart  
will dance me back into primitive arms  
that give love a disgraceful name.  
  (Photo: Eve Southern)
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