The Weather Inside

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There’s a circa early 90’s grunge
band playing at the bar down the street.
When I go out in the rain
to clear my head I can hear
the thrumming low notes of bass
and the not quite right beat
of a drunken drum. When patrons

open the door, slurred and growling
vocals slide out onto the sidewalk
illuminated by a wedge of dingy light.
The door swings shut again and I listen
to the rain, a few pairs of hurried
footsteps, tires on wet pavement,
the low voices of the homeless
kids in a doorway preparing
for uncomfortable sleep. All

at once I’m 22 again, with white girl
dreads and ripped fishnets
a safety pin in my ear, going
out for drinks and a show. Then
I’m in my early thirties looking
for a bench to sleep on,
thankful it’s summer and the weather
at least is kind. Then I’m the woman
at the bar, leaving with a guy from
the band or leaving alone or
leaving with whoever’s free for
the rest of the night. I could have been

one of the women walking home
late after a thankless shift
at a job that doesn’t pay shit.
I have known these things, these ruts
routines and situations and I am
here to tell you that no matter
your place in the world, regardless
of the weather outside or in
your heart, if I have not walked
a similar path I might do yet
and I strive to live in empathy
and do believe that we all look
the same when we weep in the dark.

~

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