The Lucie Odes
For Lucie Nell Beaudet (1960–2018)
I’d known you six years before you told mehow your first husband pimped you out—used the cash to buy a fried-chicken franchisealong a rural highway in Alabama. How youslept under the counter where you cashieredwings and thighs. How you rinsed, out back,and spread baby powder across a bath towelto soak up the tumid August sweat, keep offskittering roaches. For the rest of your lifeyou had nothing to do with chicken. Mixed,in memory, with the smell of strange men’ssemen. How you dreaded what came despiterough-shod precaution. How you stole fromthe till, dollar at a time, until you had enoughfor a bus to the clinic. I picture you there alone,benumbed, draped and gauzed in a steel theater,vowing never to seek what had been siphoned.
How, after, he hunted you with a shotgun,