by Gabrielle Yetter
She tosses the lipstick-stained stub to the ground
Grinds it into the dirt with the heel of her stiletto
And turns back.
To one more man,
One more beer,
One more night of leering, groping, prodding, snorting
In the suffocating blackness
Where her soul vanishes inside an empty shell
And the wounds of her past sink into pits of pretense.
When the artificial smile and the artificial hair and the artificial nails
Reveal artificial canvases of pretend horizons,
All she can ask is
Then the door slams shut.
The lights go out.
Coins heavy in her pocket, she draws her coat tighter
To keep out the cold,
To keep in the pain,
To cover the scars
From probing eyes that pierce her skin once again.
Guarding her fractured heart, she walks
Footsteps echoing on the wet pavement
Until the key in her hand fits
And she stumbles down the steps,
Past her snoring neighbour spread out on the sagging couch
To the room where her treasure lies.
Eyes firmly closed with feathery lashes; ebony locks curled around the face of an angel.
A tiny hand.
Holds, grasps, squeezes, breathes.
And she remembers.
The answer to the question,
* * * * *
"Why" is part of Gabrielle Yetter's new poetry collection And the Clouds Parted.
Gabrielle Yetter is a
former journalist who has lived in Bahrain, South Africa, USA, Cambodia, and
the UK. She is author of Whisper of the Lotus, The Definitive
Guide to Moving to Southeast Asia: Cambodia, The Sweet Tastes of Cambodia,
Ogden the Fish Who Couldn’t Swim Straight, and Martha the Blue Sheep and
co-author with her husband Skip of Just Go! Leave the Treadmill for a
World of Adventure. Her poetry collection, And the Clouds
Parted, was released in November 2022. She lives in East
Sussex, UK and can be contacted at www.GabrielleYetter.com or firstname.lastname@example.org