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“Trailer Park”
 
She woke up
in
the same
rundown
piece of shit
single wide
mobile home
she passed out
in,
a new sun
shinning through
the same old
dirty windows
that have faced
east
for the last
fifteen years
of her life
is now glaring
into her eyes,
she doesn’t move
her head
just closes her
eyes
and gropes around
blindly
on the coffee
table
for her cigarettes
her fingers finally
brush against
the familiar
cellophane wrapper
of her box of
Newports
dropping the box
on her chest
as she digs
out a cigarette
and a tiny
Bic lighter
from inside
the box,
she starts to
clear her throat
unaware
that she does
this
right before
every cigarette
she lights,
her first deep
drag
soothes her raw
throat
she blows the
smoke
into a permeant
haze
that hangs over
the living room
floor
she seems to
draw enough
strength
from her morning
ritual
to sit up
and contemplate
making a pot
of coffee
she takes a
few more
drags
the exhaled
smoke
being cut into
layers
by the sunlight
streaming through
the blinds,
she goes into
the kitchen
washes out the
coffee pot
then reloads it
with fresh grounds
from a dented
39oz can
of bargain brand
coffee,
she uses a
percolator style
pot
to brew her
coffee
for no good
reason
other than she
likes the sound
it makes
and to watch
it
spit coffee
through the little
metal tube,
she sits on
a stool
smoking her
cigarette
while watching
the coffee making
process
till the last
“blurp”
comes out of
the metal tube,
she reaches across
the counter
grabs a cup
with yesterday’s
coffee
still in it
dumps it in
the sink
and gives it
a quick rinse
before she takes
her semi-clean
cup
of fresh coffee
out her sliding
glass door
on to a small
patio
where she spends
a good part
of each day
it has a
small unbalanced
table
with two
mismatched chairs,
she sets her
coffee and
cigarettes
on the table
a gossip magazine
and a abalone
shell
that she used
as an ash tray
were the only
other things
on the table
she sips at
her coffee
refrains from
lighting up
another cigarette
down to her
last three
waiting for the
blue and white
motorized cube
to feed her
box
it’s monthly
government check
along with many
others
who live on the
same asphalt
track
as her,
she looks across
the narrow black
road
at her neighbor
she’s watering  her
five by seven foot
lawn
for the second
time
so far today
she’ll water that
hallow ground
along with her
twenty potted
and hanging plants
five times a day
the highlight
of her retirement
due to a very
weak
401K plan
and God help
you
if your dog
even looks in
the direction of
her personal
garden of Babylon,
she looks in
her box of
Newports
for the third
time
somehow expecting
the cigarette
count
to have increased
since the last
time
she checked
she lets the
mini lighter
along with one
cigarette
slide out of
the box
and onto the
table
her fingers take
the lighter
and fiddle with
it
weaving it between
her fingers
a simply disguised
stall
to occupy her
mind
hoping to prolong
the time before
she lights her
cigarette
bringing her reserve
number
down by one,
she goes back
inside
refills her cup
with her percolated
coffee
peeks into the
refrigerator
and pulls out
an empty carton
of Newports
hoping to find
some hidden pack
overlooked by her
earlier
in the week
she always keeps
her cigarettes
in the refrigerator
says it keeps
them fresher
though she can’t
remember who
told her so,
she picked up
a pair of cheap
sunglasses
on her way
out
off the kitchen
counter
sitting back down
at her table
on the patio
as round two of
her neighbor’s
aggressive watering
comes to an end,
she watches a
few birds
taking sanctuary
in the wet
grass
from an over
effective
early morning sun,
she lights her
cigarette
drops the lighter
into the near
empty box
and thumbs through
the gossip magazine
that she has
already read
ten times before
happy that this
month’s check
didn’t fall on
a Tuesday
when all the
penny savers
and coupon fliers
come in the
mail
adding
two extra hours
to the expected
delivery time,
something the
mailman
has tried to
explain
to some of the
more paranoid
people
on his route
but they still
felt
it had more
to do with
the government
just jerking them
around
then an increase
in the mail
load,
she finishes her
second cup of
coffee
the caffeine
and nicotine
boost
make her want
to get up and
do something
the thought of
cleaning her
house
briefly entered
her mind
before her attitude
pushed it back
out
as she decided
just to sit
there
rereading her
gossip magazine
and spacing out
her last two
cigarettes
till the mail
truck
finally pulled up,
she turns to
page 33
and reads the
horoscopes
of the months
other than hers
surprised she hadn’t
thought to do that
already,
she instinctively
grabs her box
of Newports
as she reads
her eyes never
leaving
the page
as she lights
the cigarette
clearing her throat
as always
before she takes
her first drag
it’s not in till
she gets down
to November
Scorpio
as she is putting
her cigarette
butt
into the abalone
shell ashtray
does she realize
she is down
to her last
cigarette,
she opens up
her box of
Newports
looks inside
to double check
a cigarette count
she already knows
is down to one
she sets the
box
back down on
the table
picks up the
magazine
and nervously
flips through
the pages
feeling a bit
on tilt
with her reserves
mistakenly
cut in half,
she stands up
walks to the
rail
of her patio
leans over it
and looks down
the asphalt ribbon
towards the
mailboxes
a couple of
people
hanging out
and talking,
like her
nothing better
to do
with their time
then wait for
the mail
while dishing
out
the latest
trailer park
trash
she was
tempted
to head down
and hear who
was waking up
next to who
after drinking
one generic
beer
too many,
but she had
her nights too
when that single
wide
was way too
much trailer
for one woman
letting her
standards
slide
just a little
down at the
club house
monthly mixer
having to
remember
just because
they live on
the far side
of the park
doesn’t mean
she won’t keep
running into them,
she smiles
as she looks
into her box
of Newports
gives it a
shake
and watches
the lone
cigarette
and mini lighter
roll around
sometimes
that next morning
awkwardness
is worth it
she says in
a low
“matter of fact”
voice
to herself
as two elderly
ladies
who are speed
walking
past her place
“The mail is
two minutes out”
one of the
ladies
shouts out to
her,
she calmly
gets up from
the larger of
the two
mismatched
patio chairs
straightens out
her clothes
as the neighbor
across the street
comes outside
to water her
lawn
for the third
time
today
seeing a crow
on the outer
perimeter
of the grass
she sends a
burst
of well-aimed
water
at it
before starting
her ritual,
she picks up
her box of
Newports
slowly walks
down
the patio steps
then half way
down
she pauses
and taps out
her last cigarette
and lighter
from the box
and lights it
clears her throat
and takes a
long drag,
her neighbor
looks over at
her
then hollers
across the road
“You know
if you just got
direct deposit
the money
would already
be
in your account”
she looks at
her neighbor
waits a few
beats
then takes a
long drag off
her cigarette
blowing out
the smoke
as she makes
her reply 
“yea,
I know
but it’s the
buildup of
anticipation
that makes
that last
cigarette
Oh So Sweet”
she says
followed by a
few short
coughs
as she casually
walks down
to the mailbox
to pick up
her check…
 
     Tom Allen…07-09-2018…