She spent her last dollars
on milk and cookies,
arranged on a spotless
chipped plate, liquid
in a re-washed paper cup
(the only set she had).
Fell asleep on the rug
a gift of salvation
along with two rough chairs,
a candle in the dark,
Sterno and a couple of matches.
Fist of awakening rubbed from eyes,
maybe it was the absence of a tree,
one bare stocking taped on the wall,
the heating coal must have fallen
from the holey sock, powdered
from the drop, wind blown away.
She had written an unanswered letter,
not asking much: money for the lights,
fuel for the fire, and, if it wasn’t too presumptuous,
somehow, someway, to have a way out.