for fire escape women



Every place, every neighborhood, has its watchers, its sentinels, its every day souls who see all and who say nothing. I dedicate this poem to them. lmr

They      sit       on      fire-
escapes, each  of  them 
crazy from the  heat of a  
lazy summer day.   They
sit & watch like sentinels,
each of them keeping a
calm &  steady         vigil.

Who  are   these   South 
Bronx ladies who bake & 
sweat &  dream,  whose
weary   eyes    gaze    at
scenes of blight  as  the 
gray  imitation     of  life
slides    by    inside    an
eyeball's                 blink?

At times  some    slow,
tender  breeze or soft
summer's wind  blows
in from       the  east &
sends its   cool   havoc
thru  their   bandanas,
their       curlers        &
cornrows  &  it makes
this       crazy       heat
almost          bearable.
Sometimes, they smile
& I  pretend, they  are
smiling at me.   Some-
times from these mean
streets,    a  bold    hip-
hop     beat      played
LOUD    &  repeatedly
can       sound        like
e x p l o s i v e s       or
the  wicked  cadence
of insanity. It could be 
a riddle of gunfire   or 
just maybe the   PTSD
keeps  messing   with  
an idling               mind.
&   nightmares    are
free here, they come
wrapped     inside   a
drive-by shooting  or
a plaintive  SCREAM,
a siren...   or another
senseless       murder
scene. & miraculously
these    ladies     will
somehow  survive  &
sunbathe themselves
sane      inside     this
mad  eerie      silence
that                 follows.


copyright © 2013 by L.M. Ross

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