Poem (now I’m back online): Cupcake Lady
This would have been a “fortnight” poem posted Monday, but we were offline from Friday until yesterday.
The year before, I had taken a cupcake to her regular corner after she told me it was her birthday. She gave me a sweaty hug through the car window. Another time she asked me if I had a spare broom to clean up her campsite, and I kept one in my car for months but didn’t see her again. Then she reappeared near a different corner.
On July 4, as we ride the bus home from the fireworks, I see her sitting opposite me, clean and nicely dressed. I hope she’s no longer homeless, but she sits quietly with her hand over her face, the picture of despair.
I wonder if it would be appropriate to give her something, but I’m holding my granddaughter in my lap and my purse is inaccessible until we reach our stop. As I join the crowd getting off, I hesitate a moment, take a couple of steps back and touch her shoulder. She looks up, surprised. I smile at her, then catch up with the others leaving the bus.
I wanted to say something, ask her how she’s been, where she’s staying. The moment is gone; the bus rolls on with her, and I walk home with my family.