What’s Your Story?


What’s Your Story?

I watched for her today.

The hunchbacked lady

In her soiled garb;

Scars of the yesteryears

In her face and arms;

Past agonies veiled

Behind lackluster eyes.


What’s your story old lady?

Who are you?

Where do you come from?

Where do you reside?

In a house?

Outside a dumpster?

In a cardboard box?


What’s your story old lady?

Does anyone love you?

Does anyone care?

If today you disappeared,

Would anyone search for you?

Would anyone notice

If you suddenly weren’t there?


What’s your story old lady?

Did your papa beat you?

Your Uncle molest you?

Your mama run off and leave you?

Were you trapped

In a world full of people,

Yet all alone?


What’s your story old lady?

Did your child die in a great fire?

Your one true love in Vietnam?

Was everything you loved

Snatched from your embrace?

Was your heart torn asunder,

Damaged beyond repair?


What’s your story old lady?

Why do you look like that?

Smell like that?

What drove you to eat from garbage cans?

Shut out the world?

I am obsessed with who you are,

With a need to know.


What’s my story?

Why do I persist?

Am I like the rest?

Look but do not see?

Pity, but keep my distance?

Wrinkle my nose in disgust,

Devoid of sympathy?


What’s your story old lady?

I must know.

Fear overtakes me;

Sweat pierces my brow.

You could be my mother, my grandmother,

If life had been different.

You could be me.


Do I hold the fate of my story

In the palm of my hands?

Who would I be

After a lifetime of grief?

A lifetime of sorrow?

Would I find myself alone?

Would your story become mine?


She stops;

Scavenges in the garbage can;

Searching for five-centers,

A morsel of food,

A discarded treasure.

She looks at me.

Can she sense my curiosity?


With a swish of her hand

She wipes the drip from her nose.

One more spot on her

Grotesquely soiled sleeves.

There she goes;

The old hunchback lady

With the story nobody knows.


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