'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)