Always Carol

by on April 17, 2024 :: 0 comments

Under the weight of her tangled gray hair
Always Carol walks alone bent and spent,
lugging a concrete bag with discounted fruit
and a few necessaries chained to her shoes.
She shuffles along like Always Carol always does,
towards home where tall weeds and memories sit gathering dust in volumes
until 2:15 when the omni-bus screams down JFK BLVD
exhausting fumes that fill her debility coat
and backfire into her loaf of white bread

Grocery store, then back
Side walking back home,
watching crack after crack pass beneath her
a slow demarcation called Invalid’s Path
for those who are not valid anymore.
That is the scope of her day.

She sits waiting with her warm bottled water
for the November metro and rides the angled avenue with Lee Harvey
to watch a free vintage movie at the recently reopened Book Depository
Always Carol sits waiting at 12:30, looking for her bus, killing time,
waiting and waiting,
and becomes the solitary assassin of age

In the middle of the theatre where Always Carol always sits
she is invisible.
Yet, the MGM lion spots her and stares her down
roaring first one way and then the next
Always Carol watches that proud, tired beast yawn one more time,
then drop off the screen to fall asleep next to her,
dreaming of donated popcorn.

The movie is coming to a theatre near you:
America, We Love You So Much
subtitled Land of the Free and Home of the Grave,
a film where an issue of Kleenex Monthly and white peonies are delivered
every National Disability Independence Day
by motorcade
in stacked cartons stamped only “THE LONELY”

Afterwards, the credits will drop her off like dead weight
on a grassy knoll
where she cannot die any faster
But Always Carol with the bent and buckled neck
prefers a good mystery that twists and turns,
near her half green house
with half a street number
and a life just shy of
History and Elm

– Jeff Bender

editors note:

Every neighborhood needs a Carol – Always. – mh clay

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