STREET SONG (For my long-gone aunt)

                                                                                                                        February 2018

Poor Rosie, bedbug crazy,
Kinky black hair slipping pins,
Pulpy body girdled, bra’d, and tight-print dressed,
Legs slender and fragile, feet stuffed into narrow spiked heels,
Steps out into the sunshine to do battle with unseen enemies.
But they are there.  Oh, yes!  She knows they are there.

Poor Rosie, fruitcake crazy,
Stops halfway down the block to check her face.
Bird-like fluttering hands dig in her handbag for a mirror.
Eyes scan her image, bruised lids, heavy, dark, vaselined,
Mouth a gash of bright greasy red.  Lipstick smeared.
But not from kisses.  Never kisses.

Here comes Rosie,  the neighborhood crazy.
Raucous kids shooting marbles in the street
Quiet now, wipe snotty noses with the backs of their hands
Furtive glances as she passes by.
Something wrong here, something rotten.
Much too close to home.

There goes Rosie, White Queen crazy,
Cracked aging lady in a melodrama
Ready for her close-up now.
Blowsy Blanche Dubois minus the bourbon and charm.
Whiff of fetid decay under the sweet toilet water.
Something dying?  Not Rosie!

Poor thing, Rosie, ten-ways crazy,
Unmothered, unfathered, unchilded, de-husbanded
Little fledgling dropped too soon from the nest.
Unheeded unneeded,

Alice Rosenthal