I glanced at her from my cafe table.
I’d never seen a girl try so hard to be invisible,
the way she hunched over her book,
hiding behind her long hair.
I glanced back at her and met her eyes.
She immediately looked down as though
caught peering through the keyhole,
bracing for punishment.
She hunched even more, closing in on herself,
her arms circling her book, hair draped like a curtain.
I shifted, my chair scraping the floor.
No – she said softly, not looking up,
leaning away, crossing her arms in protection.
My God. I hope whoever hurt you is far, far away.

Jim Steele lives in a small town in central Florida. I’ve been writing poetry and song lyrics for many years and have self-published two poetry books.