As many times as I look in the mirror and pin my hair just right,
so its beauty hides behind my scarf, out of lusting sight,
still the knife twists in my gut when I know what is to come,
where fine gentlemen ogle, touch, and blurt obscenities to
me the lowly, serving wench. When possible I keep a bench
between myself and them. My eyes stay low, I never smile
as no accuse shall swell of attempts to bewitch or beguile.
Still one of the regulars makes it his passion for harassment
through insults and taps with his ivory lion-headed cane.
With a small plot of land, I bet I could grow enough to feed
the too-many hungry mouths, sprouted seeds of a hot-blooded
husband’s passion. He’s long-gone sniffing on down the road.
Serving rich folks at the club, and evening-ends leftovers, is
enough, worth the price of my sense of self as worthy of love.
Tonight Mr. William is drunker than usual. He’s drinking doubles
after his wife slapped him and stormed off in her white ermine coat.
“Hattie, you no good wench, get your black ass over here. Now!”
On the other side of the bench, eyes to the floor,“May I help you, Sir.”
The last thing I see is the ivory lion, coming close fast.
Although Hattie Carroll was a very much real person who was murdered on February 9, 1963 by William Zantzinger, to my knowledge, there are no written words in the voice of Hattie Carroll. I’m hoping my bending the rules a little here is ok for the prompt.
Image and well-written article found here.
Ingrid is today’s host for dVerse’ Poetics. Ingrid says:
The challenge is to write a poem in the voice of a fictional character. It can be any character you like, and you can introduce it in your own voice if you choose (à la Coleridge, though I certainly wouldn’t insist on this) but the main body of the poem must be in the voice of your character.