Our Neighborhood

She was somewhat attractive,
Somewhat bedraggled,
Clearly out of place in this million-dollar neighborhood.

The police agreed,
Called to investigate her wanderings,
On a Sunday,
Clearly not a professional
Considering all the neighborly activity:
Washing cars,
Weeding gardens,
Walking dogs.

She was somewhat attractive,
Somewhat bedraggled,
Hanging on to a hint of her twenties
But soiled and worn from years of drug abuse,
That hollow stare of the meth addict.

Her wrists cuffed tight behind her back,
Patted down,
Pushed into the back seat of the squad car,
One foot still free,
Stubbornly resisting.

The police found a meth pipe,
Some meth,
Credit cards with other people’s names,
A small knife.

She had three outstanding warrants,
One a no-bail felony warrant
For stabbing a John who got too rough
In the motel on the street next to the freeway
Where she hooked when the drugs and the money ran low.

She waited in the squad car
For the woman who saw her in a neighbor’s backyard,
The woman who could identify her,
This prowler,
So out of place in this pleasant neighborhood
On a sunny Sunday morning.

“She has no business being in this neighborhood,”
The officer told me,
Shaking his head with a smile,
Wondering what I too was wondering:
What was she thinking?

She sat quietly,
Familiar with what was ahead,
The pain and confusion from withdrawal kicking in hard
As the squad car pulled away.

~ Russ Allison Loar
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