She leans into the damp, cloying wind, her
breath a secret omission, her disillusioned eyes
touching the gray sidewalk like silent tongues,
numb to even the wet chill of the evening.
Coat clutched at her slender throat
wading through thin yellow streetlight,
discarded cigarette packages,
brown leaves that winter refused to
wind away. Ruffled rooftop pigeons
with unblinking stares watch the charade
and the windows of shops shudder
as imaginary footsteps in pursuit attempt to reach
her, she feels her heart speed up then slow again.
She rushes on then stops and stares
into the window of their apartment beyond
the twisted ivy slowly claiming the red brick,
as he had wrapped tendrils of deception
around their life. Then, she peers into the
window of the apartment next door now seeing
the white suddenly streaked through
her chestnut hair, etched lines on her bruised face
and her battered ribs protest as she exhales
breath too long held. The shelter in one direction,
the train to who knows where in the other.
Fierce determination of never again
flashes in her eyes as she hears
footsteps gaining behind her . . .
but he's not there. It’s her fear she hears
haunting, day and night, ever haunting.
With the haste of survival,
adreniline coursing through her,
she picks up her forgotten dreams
anxious to answer the welcoming call
of the train's whistle knowing she will board,
seeking safety’s freedom in the unfamiliar anywhere.
© Marcia Miller-Twiford