Morning Walk in the Neighborhood


From a half-block away

I noticed a young woman sitting on a cement stoop

in front of a house converted into apartments.


Beside her, two suitcases,

and a large black trash bag

likely full of belongings.


She was moving. Or traveling.

Waiting for a ride.


Her right elbow rested on her right knee,

right jaw rested on her hand,

her head turned away.

Everything about her body language

came down to one word for me:



As I got closer I heard a male voice.

Talk radio, I guessed. It had

the accusatory tone telling of someone

being in the wrong.


Then I saw that the disembodied voice

was a man sitting in the darkened stairwell,

behind her, reciting a list

of all her faults, as he saw them.


She was leaving.

Good girl.

~ Cheryl Unruh