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2000 Women/Summons

by Patricia Dickson

The voice seemed to emanate from every atom on the street, even though his mouth was sounding the words.  From the cracks in the cement sidewalk, and the asphalt that covered them, to the flaking rooftop tiles, it stretched backwards and sideways until it reached something old and made of dirt.  And then:

“I saw 2000 women
and not a good one”

(The words rhymed in the voice.)

“I tell you
the only good woman
is a mother.”

(These words nearly rhymed in this voice.)

He stared at her as she passed, his white eyes moving roundly like his mouth.  She worried what the voice thought, what its audience thought, what the cracked and patched sidewalk underneath her thought, and she walked faster, hating how afraid the voice made her feel.  Her presence was a simple accident on two legs.

She stumbled and she spat out blood and teeth.

Patricia Dickson has recurrent dreams of living in the gallery space at 32 Edgewood Avenue.

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