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cover art Poems from the Other Land by Ruth Mark < back  : index  :  next >   

B e n c h   L a d y

She sits most of the day on the
bench, heart of the children’s
playground with her walking stick and
badly-dyed hair. She wears

the same clothes every day;
flip-flops pink purple neon over
navy socks, leggings of some blue
shade topped with a man’s grey jumper.

She watches all around her, looks
like she’s waiting for someone
who never comes, tries to get
anyone to sit with her, pass

the time of day. All walk on,
suspicious of this woman who
looks for all the world like a
bag lady, or just let out for the day,

not a resident with a flat of her own.
Now she’s looking in the bins, rummaging
for food or buried treasure? Or just for
something to do? Time stretches

endlessly and still no-one comes.
Finally she gives up and
pulling herself up on the rubber-pointed
stick she begins her hobble

down the street, slowly – she
has all day. Time to kill before dark
time before she’ll once more seek out
her bench, seek out some company.


First appeared in Underground Window, October 2004

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