JOHN BURNSIDE: Lady in the Snow

A prostitute, in fact.
We know this
by the rush mat under her arm and by the way
her sash is tied.

The snow has been falling all day
in thick
slow waves
filling the gaps between the young bamboos
blurring the lantern light behind her with a scuffed
white fur.

She must be cold:
she is shielding her face from the wind
and her feet are naked in the high
wood sandals
which leave a trail
of blue-black chevrons on the narrow path
like crows’ feet
or the worn calligraphy
that hides the artist’s name and printer’s mark
amongst the grey-green spikes of winter leaves.

À propos

I wonder whether perhaps there might be some small measure of truth in this apparently absurd caption (and widespread belief). Out one night in the snow, my companion who, unlike me, was fully dressed in thick clothes, turned blue and would have died if I hadn’t managed somehow to get him to the nearest transport café (he weighed nearly twice what I did) and out of the cold.

Me, of course, I hated transport caffs and the drivers who frequented them, and only ever entered one when the situation was desperate – as, to be quite honest, it often was when I was with Corin, though not life-and-death desperate like on that particular night.

 * * *

Here’s another I found that is very much to the point. I love this woman, but is she just posing for the pic? Or has she been standing there a while smiling at the drivers of all the cars that pass, and this was taken en passant by some wanker who very likely didn’t stop, didn’t even bother to throw her some money? 



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