girl sitting near wall w inscription

i followed from a distance
watching
as she gathered cigarette butts
and paper napkins

the haze of yellowed streetlights
reflected onto her teeth
when she smiled
through shattered memories

her black wool coat
was more than she needed
and less than she wanted
when the scent of chanel no. 5
tempted her with memories
of wishes where old dreams
had died

i hated my tears
when i watched her
and yet i knew she would kiss them
if kisses were meant for a prince

i had become a pauper
in the presence of this midnight dancer
poking at empty pockets
where frayed cloth replaced pennies

she sat against bricks and stones
weeping
wondering why the promises of yesterday
were dropped into a bell ringer’s kettle

on a bitter december day
and salvation was non-refundable
leaving her with only cigarette butts
and napkins to unfurl before a king