I see Fly Girl
hanging on by a smile,
thin as a reed,
playing guitar until her fingers bleed.
She’s maybe twenty three.
No one knows her name.
She sleeps in the backseat of a car
in a Blackstone Avenue parking lot,
covering her head with a faux fur coat.
“I’m a bad seed,” she confesses.
“I’m a wreck and a rot.”
You are a child of God, I say,
and you will go far.
I see her at the Kaiser Park playground one night
wearing that fur coat,
swinging slowly on the swings.
“I’m living in the real world,” she says.
“I’ve never finished a thing I started.
I used to get high. Now I get by.”
Do you remember, I say,
when you wanted to move to New York
to study art at the New School?
I saw you fight once, did you know that?
A sparring session at Southside.
So intense, holding nothing back.
Don’t let them tell you who you are.
I see you in a skirt of stars,
hand dancing on the canvas,
slinging paint like rain,
faces turned to you
like leaves to the sun.
* * *
January 5, 2017