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  You could have a big dipper   

In front of St. Joseph’s Hospital, Hamilton, 2019 by Nilofar Shidmehr

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.

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