I glance down at a bag lady’s cart,
A worn Bible ten-times
As worn as mine; is she so different
Than me? Cooks her food in Deli
Microwave, I hear hissing
As she opens a can of Pepsi; she’s
Toothless, which means
She has very few teeth. When we
Collide in each other’s path,
She stands aside graciously, allows me
To pass, tanned wrinkles on her
Smiling face
Purple baseball cap, black woolen hat
To cover the messy gray hair;
She wears a black pair of ski pants
And a dark gray sweater; she’s got
Her life all figured out, pushing around
That Bible in the shiny new half-sized
Fred Meyer cart shoves some bread
Into her gapped tooth mouth, pauses
To cough with each bite;
She sips canned soda through a straw,
Bowing her head a little,
But she seems pretty strong,
The lady in black, old woman, not far
From me at the moment;
She lives her life in desperate cold,
Married to the middle of the night.

Donald Standeford

2 thoughts on “OLD WOMAN, COLD NIGHT

    1. Thanks so much. I wrote that in the Deli of Fred Meyer as this lady walked past me. When I published it on Facebook, my manager said she knew who it was and knew the family. a few months ago my manager came to me and asked for a copy of the poem. Evidently the lady was on her death bed and she thought the poem would be soothing to them as they said goodbye to their mother.


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