The small gray car pulled into the slot opposite mine,
a tall, well-coiffed blonde woman emerged from the driver’s side,
headed for the wool store in front of her car, stopped,
returned to the passenger side, and spoke briefly through
the slot provided by a partially lowered window, shook her head,
and crossed to the store door and disappeared inside.
Almost immediately, slender fingers emerged through the slot
holding a newly lit cigarette, which they tapped rapidly,
then withdrew. The hand emerged, sometimes almost to the wrist,
sometimes just the cigarette and the tips of the fingers,
too frequently for utility, enough to make me think there must be
some agitation, some compulsion behind the constant tapping.
This fingers where female, by their shape and the nail polish,
and made me wonder if she was a friend of the driver, a sister,
lover, or even someone ill or disabled, whom the driver was helping out.
The fact that she was tapping the ashes outside the car
suggested the driver was a non-smoker, perhaps would not approve,
would reprimand her when she returned with her purchase.
I pictured her knee twitching spasmodically; I sensed her sighing,
wondering what she would do next, how she would survive.
I am glad I don’t need to tap a cigarette to pass each dread moment.
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