Her skin was parched, her eyes were sunken
like an addict on opiates.
She cradled a dead baby in her arms.
She stood in the sun, she was lost in the crowd.
Whatever she could see had to be seen
through the narrowest point of her pained pupils,
because the sun was merciless. Like the rest of them.
And if the heat didn’t get her, the dust would.
But despite her desperately ugly resolute,
there was a stubborn beauty about her slow decay.

She hid behind her hands, shielding her eyes
From the view of the others.
In the crowd, lost in the conversations she didn’t understand,
she stood forsaken.
Her impassive world spun about her in apathy.
But this was her home, and her life. Right there,
behind her own hands, was complacency.

Sometimes she’d look through the slit of her fingers
And watch as they tapped their feet
to the beat of their portable songs.
Sometimes she would try to follow along,
tapping her feet to the rhythm of their lives.
And sometimes,
she would improvise.

She was in a state of peace so marvelous,
she could feel the space between her brain and her skull.
She could smell the scented cool air that blew through it.
She heard the music in its whistle,
the rhythm in its rustle. And she cried.

I was drowning. I was drowning in surrender.
I could feel her cold fingers on my skin,
and the warmth of her touch. I let it fill my ears
while I released the breath I didn’t know I was holding.
One last time, before the plunge, I looked into her eyes.
My entire life swam in the torrent of that moment,
and I drowned. Stabbed by a feather, without a sound.