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Dawn Zapletal

The Woman In The Moon

Dawn Zapletal's poetry

Carrie stood looking out the window, trying to find a solution to her problem.  A cold March rain lashed the window, splashed onto the street, rushed recklessly down the  trash filled gutters, and plunged noisily into the dank sewer at the end of the block.

The dimly lit room behind her was cramped and dingy. It held only a narrow bed, a wobbly table, a small chest of drawers with a cloudy mirror and a single chair.  A dim light bulb hung from an electrical cord in the ceiling. Humble though her room was, she considered herself lucky to have a room with a view of the street and not overlooking the garbage strewn light well.  From her window she could see other run down hotels, their dismal lobbies harboring gray faced men and women. Pawn shops with iron grilled doors and windows held the last pitiful treasures of the poor. A liquor store and a greasy diner were wedged between taller buildings. A bar marked the corner of the block with a garish neon sign.

The rain slowed to a drizzle, and still she stared into the night street. She remembered then, with icy terror, that the social worker was coming in the morning to take her to the nursing home. There she would sit watching television, diapered like a baby. She would become one of the vacant eyed specters with trembling hands and confused minds. Her precious memories would fade like autumn leaves to colorless crumbling bits and pieces. She pulled her faded blue chenille robe tighter around her frail, shriveled body. She could see herself in the dark window pane. When she wondered, had her thick dark hair become thin and gray as the rain. Was the red cheeked, bright eyed, laughing girl hidden under the mask of wrinkled skin, dull eyes and toothless mouth? She shivered and crossed her arms over her chest, feeling with a faint surprise her now pendulous breasts. So many years had passed since her blood had pulsed hot and fast through youthful veins and her firm white thighs had held a slim hipped lover, blissfully unafraid of age and death.

With an effort Carrie reminded herself that the kind, but busy, social worker would with the best intentions deliver her into the indifferent hands of strangers. They would, with calloused hearts, strip her of the last vestiges of privacy and dignity, oblivious of their atrocities. She struggled to keep her mind clear, to remember why she had to leave the hotel. She was forgetful. She had let the tub in the hall bathroom overflow. Once a pan of soup on her electric hot plate had boiled dry, smoke had filled her room, billowed  into the hall and set off the smoke alarm.  And more than a few times she had wet the bed. Her face burned with shame. Yes, she was guilty of those terrible crimes.

Unnoticed by her the rain had stopped and the clouds had blown away. The full yellow moon was reflected in the wet, black pavement seven stories down. The answer to her problem came to her suddenly. It was so simple. She opened the window wide. The night air smelled fresh and clean and surely there was the scent of clover in the warming wind. She was smiling as she leaned far out and launched herself on blue chenille wings toward the mirror image of the moon.