Where the Women Last Sat
(In Memoriam of The Anna Louise Inn)
They once paced
across a long veranda
saying a longer goodbye
to the life one John, then another,
said would improve.
of the carriage porch
had once been their escape
from the glower of the public’s eye
and the glow off a little boy’s game –
games women never played.
Instead they were re-moved
from a cracked city curb
on the last matriarchal corner
of a patriarchal block.
Where they last sat
is now overgrown –
their chairs like wildflowers
tangled in weeds –
deeds of their past eclipsed
by cardboard sopped in rain.
Maybe it’s better
their plight in the open
women inhaling freshly-scrubbed air
no longer submitting
to staleness from centuries past.
A monument would be fitting
after bulldozers are done digging
the wishes women had sown
in the uncluttered fields as they overlooked
the land of their overlord.
A woman in repose.
A bench and cigarette, a molded footrest
surrounded by greens of dreams.
Rest for the body, a puff of silence
off their soles, off the streets.
AJW 7/8/2015 – In Memory of the Anna Louise Inn, as it housed the Off the Streets Program. Now the occupants have moved to a new center, but there were chairs left behind with the mark of the women who finally sat down, to get off their feet and off the streets.