She took herself like a coat from behind the door
and ran, past neon bulbs that winked at her
and lights of motorists coming home from a night out,
running from his face still on her mind.

What could she do but continue this road,
aligning the slap of her feet to it—going where flesh
was free of men?

The same men used to respect her;
and though she walked the street for money
they prized her warmth and laughter.
But there's something else in their eyes now,
the eyes of those same men she could stiffen with a look.

Those days are enshrined in her and she eats them
at will to sustain herself, like bread and wine
during the Eucharist. Part of her wanted to go back
and beat him to a pulp, but another, more mature part
kept her feet going down to where the sun
was going to rise, toward a message the sea sends
through salt, in the breeze of a new life promise.