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Poetry By
  Jenifer Wallace

Published on: 11/29/2012
Hungry Woman

The woman standing outside the restaurant
asked me for a bowl of soup.
Others passed her by.
Another beggar.
I stopped.

She didn't smell like the bottle,
didn't twitch like a junkie.
She didn't ask for money to feed a habit.
Just food.
Her eyes couldn't meet mine, and I wondered
what happened to her, to wear her down to begging
for a meal.

She wore blue scrubs, like my mother did
before she was "downsized"
like my mother's friends still wear
working their 12 hour shifts,
getting spit on and cursed at
by doctors, and patients, and visitors.
Like I'll wear, when I finish school.
I saw on that sidewalk
50 women I know
and a future me.

I didn't ask questions,
where she came from, where she'd go when she left.
My mouth wouldn't make those words,
and even a hungry woman in scrubs
deserves some dignity.
I bought her the soup and I prayed,
both for the stranger
and for myself.

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