I Never Knew Her Name



She was always alone.

Tied to a chair

by the nurse's station,

she sat slumped over

muttering brokenly to herself

in nonsense German,

tears spilling down

her time-ravaged face.

She had been beautiful once;

sculpted cheekbones

and delicate bone structure

revealed that long ago loveliness,

if one took the time to look.

No one ever came to see her.

I was young; caught up in my own world.

I had a job to do; no time to spare

for an addled old lady —

a stranger —

who gave me an odd,

uncomfortable feeling.

Even then

I knew I should have done something;

maybe I could have held her hand,

smiled, or talked to her.

I ignored her

just like everybody else did.

I never knew her name.

She passed in and out of my life

in an instant of time,

but she continues to haunt me.



© Ellie Maziekien


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