Shut – Suzanne Crain Miller


Her cotton black and white dress 
hung on her thin frame. 
A large moth eaten drape 
over a tiny broken window. 
Her hair chopped short, 
from the look of it, not on purpose, 
but as if it had to be cut because 
something had happened. 
Some unforeseen catastrophe 
that, as usual, she could not avoid. 
She trailed college kids to their cars
as they exited the grocery store. 
Not one giving her the time of day. 
Old enough to be their mother, maybe grandmother. 
Worn enough to warrant at least a hello 
or perhaps an  I’m sorry, I can’t
The last disregarding adult adolescent 
sending her loping off to the bus stop
where she’d get on the next one 
and likely ride for the next several hours. 
She’d show back up for the late crowd. 
The construction workers getting off work, 
the retirees trying to beat the traffic or the single mothers
needing to get out of the house if only to shop for food. 
They would not shut their doors so quickly. 
They would look her in the eye even if just for a second. 
That’s all she’d need – a second. 
And she would feel like a person, like she existed,  
when they put the dollar flatly in her palm.