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Worried Shoes: A Poem For Veronica

By Staff in News on Jun 15, 2014 8:00PM


There’s a little known Hispanic community between the historical Pullman District and the West Pullman Area.

Veronica lives there.

Her bulging belly, months away from bearing the cooing, sniffling, softness that she’ll dream of holding to her breasts on the coldest of nights.

She sits in front of her home.

A large picture window shows tiny heads popping up and down—smiles with teeth too big for their heads, a sign of small bodies growing properly.

One thing Veronica will miss.

She’s facing 15 years as an accessory to murder and has nothing positive to say to me this day.

She’s worried for her sisters.

I guess she slips on the worry and walks around in them until her swollen feet can’t bear it anymore.

She’s afraid. Afraid for her children.

A real bone quaking fear.

The kind of fear that sneaks up on you while you’re alone in a room with the quiet and darkness, and that thing that scared you so much when you were 9, flashes before your eyes.

No matter how fast you turn on the lights, you’ll always have your memories

Veronica has the memories of that day—the day her brother took three lives--when she became sealed.

In this airless bag of remorse and anxiety.

“His name is Martin Ybarra. Google that shit,” Veronica said callously.

As the skies darkened leaving ominous circles around her eyes, she told me how she worried

Five years have passed since the murders.

Five years of bottled of worry has to leak out somewhere.

I search the circles around her eyes for holes and find smooth flesh.

I search her hands for shakiness but they are still.

I search her nose for streaks of tears, but she just stares straight ahead.

Her words are those of a sullen warrior, her body is made of brass.

Ready to be pushed through the brutal penal system.
Her fiancé walks towards us and we hush our conversation.

His face, the object of Veronica’s doting, now defined hardness within and hardness without.

I can’t look into his eyes. I try. But he won’t make look back at me. There is sadness, angst, and love but not enough time to love all around.

I feel that my time here is past.

As I close the gate, I look back to see if I could get one last glimpse of Veronica.

She’d disappeared into the house.

I imagined her children trampled her with hugs, or absurd requests such as my own daughter does when I walk into the room.

Such a pretty woman. Eyes like candles in a cave.

By: Ester Alegria