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Monday, January 16, 2012


by Helen Padway

SUMTER, S.C. — The conservative bedrock issues of abortion, gay marriage and faith that have long shaped Republican campaigns in the South moved toward the forefront of the presidential contest here Saturday as candidates scrambled for the support of evangelical voters. --By Philip Rucker, Washington Post, January 15, 2012

At the narrow end of the funnel
of her mind - stained  red brick
building, alley entrance - steep steps,
foot sounds muted on torn rubber treads.
Finger marked hall walls, printed
black numbers on frosted glass,
the edges ready to flake, door hinge
squeaking like a rabbit caught in the claws
of a horned owl. A brass doorknob
layered in the grunge
of sweaty palms.  An empty waiting room.

Three chairs,
cracked yellow plastic covers,
curled copy of Modern Screen.  
Gray asbestos tile floor.
From the open inner door
a paunchy figure
with no face, only the white plump
hand beckoning. Inside the room a narrow black
leather table and a steaming Nesco Roaster
filled with boiling water
and hot sharp steel. Do you have the money?
Handoff of rolled bills fastened
by red yarn. He counts, has clean fingernails.
You can keep your bra and shirt on.

Helen Padway lives, writes and contemplates life in Wisconsin. She is happy to see her poems published in journals throughout the US. She is concerned about the political scene but is able to smile as she interacts with her family and other poets.