AND

she clutches her handbag in both hands

gripping the sides of the alligator carcass

ferocious & nervous desperation have

turned her knuckles disturbingly pale

eyes beady, flit about like an escaped parakeet

she pecks at her surroundings

rather than seeing

it wasn't the way her eyes haunted them

or even the yellowish bruise on her neck that

made them drop their eyes or raise their newspapers,

it was the way she was screaming

w/o making a sound

the air was a raging tempest around her

desperation & guilt clung to her like a rank cloud

of sickness, sticky on her skin like the sour clamminess

deposited by profuse sweating

waves radiating out from her lash the

other passengers, causing them to reel back

from her disease, but unaware that they do so

unaware of any of it.

the train lurches forward

AND

she wonders what her daughter will do