Something bright about the woman with the shaved head a the rumpled piece of fading brown cardboard in hand.
Something big about the way she kept herself turned from me slightly as we spoke so that I couldn’t quite read the words she had scribbled onto that sign who knows how long ago.
Something brilliant about the bold and un-begging bravery behind her every word, like maybe she already knew the answer and just needed one more person to back her up before believing.
Squinting to fight the sun pulled her forehead and cheek bones together like the center of a sunflower exploding at the outer corners of her eyes; eyes that smiled in spite of it all like a child who’s been told no over and over and over again but still hopes to play just one more time before they go to bed.
Her legs, pale and covered in unmoving, leathered skin that seemed to barely wrap around the bones, carried her with the speed of someone who belongs, someone who knows exactly where to go.
She set off in the direction I pointed and didn’t turn back, and I watched her step across the freshly watered green grass, not wasting time to avoid the pools of mud gathering in her path.
In my mind, she is now charging along the side of the anger-lined highway past the horn-honkers and the head-shakers and the text-messaging, slow-starters.
In my mind, her cardboard sign loses all purpose today.
In my mind, she is finally marching home.
Poem by Paige Pelonis
Listen to the audio version below.