Portrait of a Lady

At the Thomas Circle CVS
we wait behind a woman with black hair
streaked wildly red,
and a black satin jacket
also streaked—wildly red to match.

Rouge becomes her career. Her face is tired,
soft, and the simple facts are these:
it’s Sunday
she went down all night,
and now
she’s stopped to buy tissues and peppermints.

As she rifles through her purse, a quarter
clinks on the floor.
A gentleman in his
Sunday brogues and his go-to-God suit
goes down for her:
he picks the quarter up.

For this she smiles at him,

:: Patric Pepper, Temporary Apprehensions (2005)

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