The Woman in Dollar General, by Doug McHargue

The Woman in Dollar General
by Doug McHargue

Her faded raincoat too thin for January
the woman pushes a shopping cart,
the store’s fluorescence casting
an unearthly pallor to her face.

I think of John Steuart Curry’s painting,
Tornado, his farm woman
clutching baby, running to the cellar
with eyes wide, face green
reflecting a sick sky.

The woman in the store carries her head
like sh used to be someone else
her hair still young but sparse
like her body hanging under the coat,
stains spilled over it
like blurred dreams spoiled.

She looks all around wide-eyed
at whatever the world offers
on its shelves, pain’s aphrodisiacs,
aspirin, Aspercreme, hair dye, pink nail polish,
and she fills her cart against the storm.

A few weeks later I see her
at the grocery in that coat,
her hair starving, face
now the color of transient angels.
She turns to look at the people
next in line as if they
are works of art, safely framed,
her head floating above a body
running ahead of life
before the coat vanishes.

Bio: Doug McHargue is a frequent contributor to Wild Goose Poetry Review. She lives in Statesville, NC.

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