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A Quarterly Journal
Jeffrey Woodward, Founder & General Editor
Volume 8, Number 2, June 2014

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Janet Qually
Memphis, Tennessee, USA


The Way of Things

I often see the homeless woman on my break. She’s usually sitting on a pillow on the sidewalk, but today she’s lying down asleep. Her bare feet are sticking out from beneath a large umbrella she’s leaned up against the wall of an empty store. I drive slower. Is she really sleeping? What if she’s unconscious? No . . . I think she is asleep. It’s only a short distance to the café and I keep going. But the woman stays on my mind all through lunch. Before leaving, I ask for a chicken sandwich to go.

I’m relieved to find the woman sitting up. After parking across the street, I approach her and offer the food and bottled water. She is glad to have it. We start chatting, and she says, “A church was gonna fix up a place for me once, but I told ‘em I’m okay the way I am. It’s not so bad in the daytime. But I do hate the midnight hours. It’s hard to see violence coming in the dark. It’s hard to protect my cart.”

heat wave
air conditioned limos
on the overpass

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