A Place of One’s Own

Anne walks on the warm pavement,
wishing for cooler weather,
glad to be out of the weeds by the tracks
where she hangs out in an old shed by day.

She steps up on the sidewalk,
checks to see if the bank’s front entry
is empty. Yes. She sighs, relieved.
This is her space, in front of wide oak doors,

if she gets here first.
She likes this part of town,
clean, patrolled, as safe
as she can expect. Sometimes

a boy she went to school with
fifteen years ago is the night guard.
He’s not ashamed to say hello
and offer her a sandwich and a bottle of water.

There’s a 24-hour station nearby
if she needs to use the restroom
or escape unwanted advances. She slides
the strap from her shoulder,

opens the satchel, and spreads a towel
on the fairly clean concrete.
She takes out a hardback copy
of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

and settles in for the evening.
She doesn’t sleep. She doesn’t dare,
but the book keeps her company,
and she always knows where her towel is.

Her knife, too. If she needs it.

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