by Cynthia Anderson
In the parking lot at Home Depot,
a young black woman calls out from her van.
Then she comes over, leaving her kids,
to ask for money. I don’t want to bother you.
I got kicked out of the house this morning.
Someone gave us a sandwich at Subway.
I don’t know what we’ll eat for dinner tonight.
If you can give me anything, I promise
it will go for food or gas. I don’t have
anyone of my own to ask. She’s crying.
Maybe her man is in the van, hiding.
Maybe if she comes back empty-handed,
he’ll beat her. Maybe he’ll do that anyway.
Or maybe she’s telling the truth. We give
her $10 and wish her good luck.
If wishes were horses.
* * * * *
Cynthia Anderson lives in the Mojave Desert near Joshua Tree National Park. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, and she is the author of nine poetry collections. Her work has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net. She co-edited the anthology A Bird Black As the Sun: California Poets on Crows & Ravens. www.cynthiaandersonpoet.com