Mattie

I was on the final stretch of my morning walk to the office, rushing along the last two blocks, dodging strollers and cyclists, and I caught a glimpse of the legs and feet of a woman just in front of me that left me thinking long after I’d passed her. She was wearing black orthopedic shoes and white fishnet stockings. Dissonance? Bravery? Self-esteem?

Before I entered the office door, this line was rolling around in my head “Her shoes were black and sturdy and her stockings, made of lace…”.  I put that on hold for a couple of days, let it develop, and it took me to a place I did not expect.  Fragments of my long-ago life in the US, mixed with the Joan Colom photos of the Barrio Chino (red-light district) of Barcelona. Bravery and self-esteem? Definitely!


Mattie

Her shoes were black and sturdy
in agreement with her face.
Her dress was “go-to-meetin’ ”
and her stockings, made of lace.

She had a voice could split the heavens,
bring down glory on us all,
but that don’t earn a livin’
so she’s workin’ at the mall.

She couldn’t get a day shift.
They said she didn’t have the look.
So they told her ’bout the night shift,
and she learned how to hook.

She takes her lonely strangers,
and gives them so much more
than they could ever ask for.
(But they still call her a whore.)

She asks for no one’s pity.
Knows the Lord loves her the same.
She sings in church on Sunday,
and at night, she’s on the game.

one of these is mattie

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