Exit Wounds

            outside

behind the wheel he sat

waiting in her driveway— yet another

friday night false sense of hope

inside

barely twenty-five

she dramatically overweight

standing before her full-length childhood mirror

face neck     arms    and legs 

an indiscriminate hodgepodge

of multi-colored tattoos and body piercings

hard evidence: a sad, mutilated history

of family neglect, hurtful names and social rejection

desperate the moments all

when she wished, prayed and vowed

to do anything a n y t h i n g

if only she could

just

be

someone                      else

her unforgiving reflection triggered her

all too familiar inner voice

that sometimes seeped into her consciousness

when she was alone

and in the dark…

dear god, who am I? will I ever be loved?

weighty and unwelcome her feelings

reflexively they gave way to the jarring sound

of his beckoning car horn ))) Dissipating

almost as quickly as they arrived

now— tight skirt, high heeled and heavily perfumed

she headed out her front door fiercely defending

her unexamined identity

as though it were an injured sparrow

fully armed with a lit cigarette and a painted smile

she       determined

to drive once again

down

the

road

most frequently traveled