2380 Market Street

When her husband died, she developed a fear of open places.
It happened suddenly. One morning she walked outside and
the world was one great vista. Trees were flying off in space.
There seemed a mile of lawn between her house and the
neighbor's clothesline.

She called the grocer and was bubbly when he arrived.
She gave him a large tip and hoped he would notice nothing

She felt this fear made her vulnerable. So she looked in
the mirror to see if she appeared to be a different person.
She rehearsed her speech to the grocer which she had
already made. "Put the box on the kitchen table and here's a
dollar for your trouble. Lovely day. Lovely day. Lovely day."
She tried this several times with different inflections.

Even the house itself seemed large and overwhelming.
So she began livind in one room. She slept on the kitchen
table, put the t.v. on top of the refrigerator, her cosmetic
case on the stove. And the days began to run together like a
pack of Alaskan wolves trying to elude the light plane, the
scope of a carbine.

Her skin became melba toast. Her life closed in around
itself like a butter dish. No matter who telephoned, she was
too busy. The neighborhood children called her The Mean Witch
of Market Street.

One day some child broke her kitchen window. She flew
into the child's soul. It was quiet, soft and confident. She
lives there now, waiting for when the child marries,
celebrates a golden anniversary, has grandchildren, loses a
spouse, awakes one morning to find the world one great

"2380 Market Street" © copyright by Michael Hogan, 1977, 1989.
From Making Our Own Rules (Greenfield Review Press, 1989)