To get sun and nicotine,
they are out on the sidewalk,
in their blue gowns.
All but one woman circle around
outside the concrete façade,
chattering and sharing a cigarette.
That solitary woman, wrapped
in a coarse blanket, speeds a wheelchair
towards me, away from her group.
She takes, with each turn of the wheels,
a puff of a Cuban cigar, her wrinkled
mouth resembling a Crown of Thorns.
I clear out of the way, thinking of her
as St. Joseph himself
on the run.
NILOFAR SHIDMEHR, PhD, MFA, is a bilingual writer, poet, and educator. She is the author of two collections of short fiction and five books of poetry in English and Persian.