Monday, April 23, 2012

Victoria the Mad


And so was Victoria the Mad who had long black-colored hair:
       a torn dark dress she wore, worn thin with hanging threads, a black cord for a belt…
—walking hastily here and there, often in the City’s square, 
       Plaza de Arms
She was a lost ewe—her thin young face wind-burnt.
       “Who’s that?”
       “Victoria the Mad” they’d say; a tin can in her hand, for soup, coffee or a handout
The joy that once lived in her face was long gone, she walked
       about as if she was deaf and dumb, with forward eyes
And a lifted head, delicate lips that seldom got fed.
It was as if the devil himself coiled his horns into her brain!
And those who saw her neither looked back nor  
       edged  forward.
And this day as like many days, a child of ten ran by, she snatched at his
       sandwich, she offered no threat
“Oh please, oh please,” she begged meek as a ewe.
“You let here alone, you’ll get hurt,” the mother wailed at the 
       boy, “she’s mad!”
She thanked him, and her mind followed more quietly.
The little black haired boy, said gently to his mother, “Remember the good Samaritan?” cried the lad.
She answered, “Her kind, work on your kindness, oh yes,  
       remember that!”
The friendly boy and his mother moved out of the
       Plaza de Arms, and Victoria like a hungry ewe ate her Food “Good-by, good-by,” she said as she kept northward,
       sniffing, talking to herself.
In the evening she found a hollow opening, under a bridge,
       it was summer, and the grass was warm.
She laughed and was glad, she undid a bundle of this and   
       that, and shared her bread with some mice and birds—Dividing it three ways, she kept the crust.
“I can even eat grass,” she told the birds “I’ve done it before,”  
       and they came close and stood by her, and she drank Water from the tin cup she had, filled it from the creek   
       underneath the bridge.
“We have to go on,” she whispered, sobbing with fear
      as if talking to herself, or the birds.
  “Why do I have to be like this?” she mumbled.
A halved moon had arisen over the bridge, she touched her
       knotted hair, a mist from the nearby river came, up Stream.
She stared at the old stones that held the bridge together,
       she was restless, and heard noises, awaiting dawn.

In the morning—like so many mornings, little clouds drifted
       overhead, sunrise, she lifted her thin boned body up
And followed the stream very slowly, looking for garbage in
       canisters, nibbling on thrown away chicken bones, left, Sucking
The bones dry; leaving her numberless foot prints behind.
She made an inarticulate bird like cry, and the birds in a
       Eucalyptus tree, scrambled…they dashed over her!
She eyed curiously a young man’s face, her parted lips
       cracked by the sun and wind…she was daydreaming!
A woman looked out her second story apartment window
Said: “The poor thing,” and threw a piece of meat down to the
      dog,  “there now,” she said, “find the food.”

Victoria lived in Huancayo, Peru for nearly thirty-years,
       and perhaps more, anxiously avoiding traveled roads, And hiding herself from people, now and then, and in later Years more often.
She became a toothless tramp, with grinding pang in her
Between agony and before exhaustion, one day, she within  
       her habitual habitats, simply up and

              #3329 (4-22-2012)