Poetry, storytelling

Sheila

 

She doesn’t own a car
so I agree to pick her up
at her late mother’s house she shares
with her daughter
and her daughter’s boyfriend
and her daughter’s children

She tells me to turn at the yellow
house on the corner
across from the apartment complex
Says she’s the fourth house down
on the right
She thinks it’s the fourth
Third or fourth
Just look for the pit tied up
out front

I tell her I’m on my way

I pull up in front of the
tiny house with the tethered
pit bull

She sees me and heads out
to meet her ride

She’s crowned with a toboggan
her hands in her coat pockets
looking as if she just
robbed the 7/11

My canine, Curtis, has the front seat
so she jumps in back and responds to
my “good morning ” with
an almost inaudible
mutter

Curtis turns around and sniffs
her direction
He smells bacon
I give her a glance in the rear-view
I smell weed

I try to make conversation but
she doesn’t reciprocate
only giving forced
one-word responses
Avoiding eye contact
Paranoia
The air is thick with tension
bacon
and weed

We arrive at my modest abode
and I give her a tour
pointing out what needs cleaning
She removes her jacket
rolls up her sleeves
and gets to work

I tune Pandora to
some Marvin Gaye
and take a seat at my desk
I can hear the dishes clanging in
the kitchen as she goes about
her duties

I’m thinking she’s probably in there
mouthing the words
Wanting to dance
She might be dancing

What if she’s dancing?

An hour later she’s sweeping
around my chair trying
not to disturb me while I work
Still acting a little paranoid

She can’t know what I look like
since her eyes haven’t once
leveled mine
I wish she could know how laid back
I am
That she has no reason to
feel uncomfortable
I thought putting on her choice
of music would have helped
but not so

She forgets where she put the
dust pan and searches and searches
and searches
Retracing her sweeping path
Confused
Embarrassed

“Are you sure you got it out of
the broom closet?”

“I know I did. I just had it.”

She opens
the broom closet and
her search comes to an end.

“Lawd, I’m half crazy. I reckon I’m
gettin’ senile.”

Then I had to say it
After all
she had just set up my chance
to give a clever response

“Might be smokin’ too much weed,” I said.

At last! Eye contact!
A giggle
A gold-toothed grin

The ice was broken

She told me about her time in
the army and in jail

I gave her my old stash box and one-hitter

On the way back to her house she
had me swing by a quickie mart
so she could buy “Sunday beer”
She ran inside and grabbed a
12-pack and some chicken wings

I pulled into her driveway
and we bade each other good-bye
She tossed a wing to the bony pit

It was the fourth house.

Mizippihippi
10/29/16
Written while woolgathering at Shady Haven 😉

 

 

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