YOUNG MOTHER

Posted by Admin on Saturday, 31st January 2009, 00:00

Beside me on the bus
she looked pathetic – poor
and undernourished. Her age,
I guessed, eighteen.
Her tawdry, low-cut, black,
and sleeveless evening gown
that August afternoon
aroused some curiosity,
incurred some censure.
A scrap of paper, held
in apprehensive grasp,
revealed her destination
in a scrawled address.
Across her lap a child,
sour-smelling, fretful,
its tiny hand outstretched
in tactile exploration, touched
my knee.
“I’m sorry,” She withdrew
its hand – her toneless voice,
unsmiling face, confirmed
a deep despair experienced
too young.
I felt compassion stir –
an urge to comfort, offer aid –
but knew no formula
that might not be misjudged.
“They like to touch,” I said,
and, smiling, let it go at that.

T. C. Hudson

© T. C. Hudson.

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