Woman by the Way

By Jay Parini

I passed a woman on my way to work.
She didn’t notice me, or so I thought.
She was in her garden clipping flowers.
Her hair was braided, dirty blond.
She wore a nightdress that was pink and white.
I guessed that she was nineteen, maybe twenty.

But my guess was wrong. I met her
later when a cinder hit my eye.
She was a doctor. You will be okay,
she said to me with such a weight of knowledge
I was quite relieved. I went home giddily
and late that night went out to water
all the little flowers along my path.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2011/10/woman-by-the-way/308644/