SUNY Jefferson

This Could Be Her Lucky Day

Kenyon Wells
This Could Be Her Lucky Day

The old car is parked strategically
at the front door of a convenience store
coughing and sputtering smoke
from a rusty dangling exhaust pipe.
The women hunched over inside
are scratching lottery tickets.
Mom’s in the passenger seat,
window cracked to let the smoke out
from a long thin cigarette
jammed into the corner of her mouth.
She squints through the dirty lenses of glasses
that sit cockeyed on the bump of her runny nose.
Her daughter sits at the wheel,
lower lip pressed between stained teeth
her gaze intent on the ticket in her hand,
the scant hope of a different future.
Mom gets lucky, maybe wins 2 bucks or a free ticket.
The car door opens and a walker drops out.
She expertly unfolds it before it hits the ground,
and flips her cigarette away
in a single fluid motion
that belies her obvious fragility.
Daughter doesn’t move or look up.
Mom’s uniform is baggy sweat pants,
a matching shirt with a little dog photo on the front,
oversized for her undersize.
Face almost as faded as her shirt,
shoes once white gone gray
with Velcro straps and stepped on heels.
Jaw sunken and stubbled.
She inches along purposefully
one short raspy breath per step
back into the store for more tickets.
Repeat as needed.
This could be her lucky day.