Thru the blurred lens of fantasy an Indian girl walks in the desert. She wends her way among the piled rocks and felled ironwood, her white ruffled skirt starkly contrasts with the thick ocotillo. The young girl occasionally stops to pick up an interesting pebble or flower. As reality sharpens the viewer’s focus, the ocotillo becomes thick weeds growing alongside a chain link fence protecting railroad tracks from unwanted intruders. The Indian girl is not a girl but rather a small woman, her ruffled skirt complemented by a shabby jacket and black baseball cap. She maneuvers a shopping cart thru the inner city detritus, spying an occasional treasure to add to her hoard.
The commuter train door shushes open, revealing an ethereally beautiful Black woman standing on the platform. Light amber bangs brush her eyebrows, tresses curling up below her ears. Azure eyeshadow on the woman’s eyelids emphasized the symmetry of her cheekbones. Reflected sunlight gives the glitter within her ebony sweater the illusion of motion, sequined grey capri pants hug her curves. Scuffed loafers starkly contrast with an otherwise elegant appearance. Smiling slightly, she steps into the car, guided by a white cane.
Seated now, a somber expression comes over the lovely face before her lips curve upward again in a smile. She appears to be contained within herself, reacting to personal thoughts and stimuli with little interest in her surroundings. Presently the woman’s eyes open wide, milky-white corneas and pupils giving her an otherworldly appearance.
Rosa espies a crimson ladies sweater, seizing the prize and adding it to the treasures held within the shopping cart she pushes. Chastened by the judgmental light of day, the beetles beneath it scatter, abandoning the baby bird upon which they had been feeding to seek refuge among the nooks and crannies of the urban landscape.
Gradually the broken windows and rusted structures of a now moribund industrial sector with its attendant air of hopelessness give way to an impersonal cityscape, its denizens largely oblivious to Rosa’s presence. Occasional notice is taken of the small woman, her precarious existence intruded upon by pity and derision, at times by violence.
Wearing the new crimson sweater under her shabby jacket, wrapped in a threadbare navy blanket, hunger sated by a meal of stale bread and carrots, Rosa’s eyes close. Her lips begin to move as she prays in silence.
Unbeknownst to Rosa, a bone chip from an injury incurred in an untreated sexual assault has completed a journey through her body, its safe haven within the aorta blocking all blood flow to her heart.
The train door shushes open and a woman exits, cane tapping rhythmically. The pitch of the tapping grows higher as urgency quickens her pace until she begins to shimmer in and out of reality
Rosa dreams of an angel, whose black wings envelop her with warmth and love. She gazes into milky-white eyes, the lips below smiling gently. The dying woman shudders with adoration and exhales a final breath. Glimpsing Paradise, her eyes close and the vision passes into memory as life-force exits to dwell within her soul.
A child sits, strapped into a wheelchair, whimpering with fear and loneliness. The nerve endings and sensors of the small abused body have shut down, no longer capable of registering pain and hunger. A short and terrible life draws to a close, and the child’s heart beats it’s final quatrain.
The train door shushes open, disgorging its occupants. Among them is a blind woman, her cane tapping upon the platform. The tapping increases apace. The blind woman prepares herself to ease the passage of another tortured soul.
Then lifted I up mine eyes, and looked, and, behold, there came out two women, and the wind was in their wings; for they had wings like the wings of a stork: and they lifted up the ephah between the earth and the heavens.