The earth is cold. A woman’s tears
are ice upon her cheeks. She fears
hot words, rough hands, and the threat
of a careless cigarette held
too close against her flesh. She’s small.
She’s old. She's skin and bones
with hips no wider than a boy’s.
She fears crude swastikas, white hoods
and men of every race. She keeps
within herself a litany
of epithets like a filthy
twisted handkerchief tucked hidden
in her breast. She's safe nowhere.
She hears the whispered jewbitchwhore
against her ear, behind her back,
inside the store, across the street
where spit seared scars beneath her hair.
There's no relief, she seldom sleeps.
When she was young her eyes were wide,
and clear, and hungry in her face,
but every time she raised her head
the world fed her hate.