Dianne McKnight

At the bus stop in front of a store named Mother and Daughter where I am the window dresser, city buses come and go all day. Their air brakes shriek and hiss like otherworldly creatures when they stop. When they pull away, black exhaust engulfs from underneath like fires roar there. The buses would be dragons if they had scales.

The store entrance has large windows on either side displaying mannequins. If the people waiting for buses happen to glance my way they keep their eyes empty. Maybe an old man touching naked young women, even fake ones, embarrasses them. Some people stand still but not in poses striving for perfection--no hands held gracefully aloft, no tilt of the head upward. Maybe they don’t focus on the windows because they aren’t here to buy pretty clothes. We all learn not to look at things we can’t have.

Today I see a girl, a child herself, holding a newborn infant. I know she’s the mother. It’s clear as light. I can see the baby, its face wrinkled like my own reflection in the glass. The baby cries out for comfort and the mother sways, dances in place. 

Some waits are too long. People stretch their backs, rub their necks, restless and ready to be going. They know when something aches any movement might help. I fasten a full circle skirt around a plaster waist, drape the red taffeta in folds that graze the floor, a time stop picture of twirling.

First published: May 2018
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