Commute

Today is a barrage of spring snow; the kind you stomp through in untimely shoes and curse with almost religious vigor. Daisy trudges to another job interview in honeycomb cowboy boots, tripping along in the hills of snow gone gray from city trash.

A homeless man is singing at the next corner. He’s wearing an upturned baseball cap and ill-fitting slacks. Daisy’s throat clenches at the prospect of interacting with him—she has no time, no change. She slouches against a light pole and eyes his cheery gait up to her.

“Hey pretty girl, you like Stevie Wonder?” He grins, baring two pockets of air where teeth should be. Daisy returns the smile reflexively. “Yeah.”

He launches into “Living for the City,” even vocalizing its signature melody, and he’s not half bad. Daisy’s eyes glaze over as she counts the passing cars. She bobs her head along. She knows there is no difference between this corner and the next.

Every corner is an aborted ambition. Every corner causes a minor demon to claw at her intestines. It pants and howls at all the people with quick commutes and attractive credit scores.

Daisy gives the homeless man two cigarettes. He lights one, grinning so hard it makes her want to cry. “Right on, sister.”

by Dawn West

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