From her neck, a plastic rosary dangles like a child, swinging. With poker-player precision, she rations coins and cigarettes with her man who drinks Jack Daniels on a Bronx-bound 2 train. Hail Mary, full of grace. The Lord is with thee. On-lookers drink in faded lipstick lips, older white woman, her younger black lover, his hair, small, cotton-ball knots, crimson eyes and lipstick-stained lips. Intoxicating lust. Blessed art thou amongst women, A beggar, heavy, duck-taped like his wheelchair, stumbles into the train car, fragrant with human waste. He speaks of a world that hurls him into subterranean fundraising. and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. He makes his rounds, wheelchair, clinking against iron poles. Open hands, empty, in front of potential donors. He wishes God blessed him with a winning deck of cards. Holy Mary, Mother of God. To the lovers, he huffs. Despair. Pray for us sinners. The gambling-pair captures him in the midst of trading nickels and Marlboros, gives the begging man everything, hoping for a better hand. Amen.
This poem is reprinted with permission of the author.