Authors note: I’ve always considered the line between prose and poetry to be arbitrary. Originally posted elsewhere in 2008
She occupied space, precisely twenty-five square feet every afternoon at 2:45. The space comprised of a white enamel round table, the kind with the hole in the center for placement of an umbrella. An umbrella that was furled every day, except when raining, which it never did at 2:45 in the afternoon. Four chairs, arranged just so, so that her chair would face the esplanade and the Church of The Blessed Virgin where precisely at 2:45 the bells would toll the quarter hour. Every quarter hour the deep peals would scatter the ubiquitous pigeons into the cerulean sky in vast flocks of gray and pink. The tourists would gape with delight as if the Virgin herself could be traced in the swirling mass of fowl. Dressed in cream, the color of a proper caramel, not the kind burned until the stench pinched her nostrils; the color of cream linen, jacket over a knee-length skirt. The blouse, always silk and always with mother-of-pearl buttons that appeared above the lapels. At 2:45 every afternoon, the scrape of iron on concrete and the gentle tink of ice in crystal, the snap-hiss of sparkling water glugging in a genteel stream. Pop-crackle and a soft ‘Madam’ and she became her space, a sentinel to the tides lapping at her feet every afternoon at 2:45.