Gris-Gris, an online journal of literature, culture & the arts
Fiction   /   Nonfiction   /   Poetry

The Other Side of the Tracks

by Karen Head

 

What if I chucked it all,

began calling myself Candi,

(with a heart over the “i”)

stopped in at Wal-Mart to buy

a jean-skirt, a tank top,

and a can of Aqua Net,

hitchhiked to a small town

just outside Birmingham, AL

taking on a part-time waitress gig,

mornings at the Waffle House,

evenings spent pot-smoking

and fucking anyone who could pay

enough, just to make ends meet,

dealt a little meth near train crossings

from a junker with a hood that would pop up

whenever I gunned the engine or drove over 45,

until the day came when I saw

a Laura Ashley knockoff jumper

hanging out of the Salvation Army bin

and felt the Spirit move me,

took to preaching from the self-serve pumps

at the Shell station that sells trucker porn,

answering to any Biblical name,

believing, like proper church matrons,

that I was somehow more redeemable,

worth a dollar’s charity, when before

they couldn’t be bothered to leave

me a tip when I served them coffee.