Her eyes say thank you but her shoulders remain hunched
as she uses two hands to cradle the cup of coffee I give her.
She is sitting on a bench watching the breeze chase dust
against a department store wall. She wears a grey trouser
suit with scuffed shoes and a beige trenchcoat which is unzipped
but wrapped around her like a blanket. Her feet are tucked
under the bench as if she is trying to take up the least amount
of space possible. There's a trace of dry shampoo in her tousled
hair. From a distance, her face looks natural, but close-up
the contouring of foundation and layers of bronzer are evident.
She looks like the sort of woman you'd seen in any office,
in every office, the one that arrives early, leaves on time,
rarely takes a sickday and does a competent but unremarkable job.
She uses two hands to raise her coffee to sip. Says nothing.
And I sit and wait until she's ready to talk. I don't care how
she got into the trap she feels herself to be in. I do care
about how she thinks she might get out. She crosses her legs,
foot pointing in my direction. Perhaps today she'll talk.
-- Emma Lee